Innovative Tech of the Week: IBM’s Computational Creativity Machine
IBM is taking the expression “recipe for success” quite literally- They’ve built a “computational creativity machine” to produce successful new recipes using the same types of decisions that a human would make. The difference here is that the machine has a much larger database of information about things like regional cuisine or flavor ingredients than any human could ever hope to know.
Lav Varshney and his team are the ones trying to “tackle the problem of computational creativity.” After they uploaded information about food into the computer:
“They then developed a method for combining ingredients in ways that have never been attempted using a “novelty algorithm” that determines how surprising the resulting recipe will appear to an expert observer. This relies on factors such as “flavour pleasantness”. The computer assesses this using a training set of flavours that people find pleasant as well as the molecular properties of the food…
The last stage is an interface that allows a human expert to enter some starting ingredients … the computer generates a number of novel dishes, explaining its reasoning for each. Of these, the expert chooses one and then makes it.”
Given a large amount of data on a particular subject, a computer can essentially be taught to think creatively. Imagine the possibilities of applying this to other fields of interest. Unfortunately for those of us who do better with a computer than a kitchen, it doesn’t look like IBM will be offering public access to this cooking self-help technology anytime soon.