The future is here. And the future is food trucks!
Oh wait, food trucks aren't new. They're popular, but just buying your food from a truck is not the future. The future is buying your food from a truck in which the recipes are dreamt up by a supercomputer. The singularity is here and it has never been more delicious!
The IBM Watson supercomputer (which you may recognize from its appearance competing on Jeopardy), in partnership with the Institute of Culinary Education, has become the IBM Watson food truck, which uses "computational creativity" to create surprising new recipes.
Or, as IBM explains, the food truck will be used to explore "whether a computer can be creative by designing a machine that can create surprising yet flavorful recipe ideas no cookbook has ever thought of."
The system begins by capturing tens of thousands of existing recipes through natural language processing techniques to understand ingredient pairings, ingredient-cuisine pairings and dish composition, which it rearranges and redesigns into new recipes. It then cross references these with data on the chemistry of food ingredients, and the psychology of people's likes and dislikes to model how the human palate might respond to different combinations of flavors.
"Creating a recipe for a novel and flavorful meal is the result of a system that generates millions of ideas out of the quintillions of possibilities," IBM writes. "And then predicts which ones are the most surprising and pleasant, applying big data in new ways."
IBM says computational creativity could "radically transform" the food industry by "identifying new recipes and pairings that are not only tasty and healthy, but also efficient to produce."
Watch a demo of how the IBM Watson food process works now:
According to Laughing Squid, the IBM Watson food truck will by in Austin, Texas for South By Southwest "across from the convention center at the corner of Red River and 4th Street from March 7th to March 11th." So if you're there, go let a robot make you lunch.