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Would you let a robo-cook decide what you like?

Ever thought of detailing different aspect of taste that you like? The spider diagram on the left describes the preferences of different varieties of flavour and the graphic on the right the probability that a given mix would appeal to a certain percentage of a target population. Image credit: Sony

“I like it”, and that is basically it!  When you taste a new dish, or a usual one, at home or at a restaurant you are not going into very many details on what you like, why you like it …. you eat and if you are happy … it means you like it.

Apparently there is quite a bit embraced by that simple statement and researchers have been looking into it by segmenting the different characteristics of what is being served on your plate and have also tried to analyse these various aspects to find out the “why”. This is what data analytics is all about: finding correlation among data. Of course what may be great to me may not be great for you. And here again researchers have applied data analytics to pinpoint differences and find similarities among different people.

All this becomes “food” for learning what matters to certain groups of people.

Data analytics, learning >>> Artificial Intelligence. Yes, this is it.

A start up, Analytical Flavour Systems, has created a platform that uses artificial intelligence to predict what flavour would better meet consumers taste and help food producers to compose the right mix: how should a potato chip taste? How can its taste differentiate it from existing products and yet be capable of attracting customers?

These are very difficult questions to answer and Analytical Flavour Systems is convinced that they can answer them using artificial intelligence.

Apparently they are not alone. Sony is funding them to use their platform, Gastrograph AI (see an example of the result in the graphic), to equip  Sony’s robo-cooks with a sense of what would make a pleasing food. Sony have been using AI in their robo-cooking appliances for a few years now (watch the clip) and plans to move one step further to endow these robo-cooks with some creativity, possibly, in the future, by learning from the interaction with their “customers” to understand what is good for them and adapt the cooking to their liking.

Hence, in a few years we might have a robo-cook at home that will be able to surprise us with new recipes designed, through AI, to fit our tastes….

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.