Beyond the Jeopardy podium: IBM takes Watson computer to the kitchen


You’re the smartest computer in the world and proved it by beating your human opponents at a thinking man’s quiz show. Now what do you do? For IBM’s Watson computer, cooking lessons are next on the agenda, along with dabbling in the medical and pharmaceutical industry, and helping with mining operations in Australia. According to the New York Times, IBM showed off the future of its Watson computer to financial analysts in San Jose, California, today with the goal of proving that Watson is as perfectly suited for commercial applications as it is for Jeopardy applications. 

Watson hasn’t been a huge money-maker for IBM, which is why the company is looking for more commercial jobs for the technology. IBM will demonstrate how Watson can help develop drugs, determine when heavy machinery is due for preventative maintenance, and even help concoct inventive ingredient combinations for chefs. 

The New York Times points out that John Baldoni, senior vice president for technology and science at GlaxoSmithKline, became interested in Watson not because of how often the computer was correct,but because “it so quickly sifted out so many wrong answers.” 

Finding out what doesn’t work is a critical component in developing new drugs. GlaxoSmithKline and IBM have begun working together to see how Watson can help the pharmaceutical company develop new solutions. In a way, it’s like having the one guy in the room who can always look at a problem from an outside perspective and think outside the box. Pun intended. 

Testing the capabilities of Watson seems to be part of the fun for IBM. The company recently teamed up with James Briscione, an instructor at  the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, and fed Watson notes on creating dishes, ingredients, the chemistry of ingredients, 20,000 recipes, and information on what smells good to most people. When Watson was asked to create a breakfast pastry, the New York Times states, “…Watson was told to come up with something inspired by Spanish cuisine, but unusual and healthy. The computer-ordered ingredients include cocoa, saffron, black pepper, almonds and honey — but no butter, Watson’s apparent nod to healthier eating.”

Chef Briscione compiled the ingredients, added vegetable oil, and produced a tasty Spanish crescent. While Watson isn’t stepping up to the oven just yet, this shows the kind of collaboration and creativity that Watson is capable of. We’ll admit, it’s scary to think of a computer as creative, but if Watson learns how to make a strong cup of coffee with a dash of milk for us, we just might accept it as our new overlord.

Product Review

The 13-inch Acer Swift 3 struggles to find a place in a very crowded market

Acer’s 13-inch version of the Swift 3 clamshell laptop doesn’t offer much to distinguish itself from a very crowded market. It’s not faster, cheaper, better-built, or more attractive than the competition.

The Surface Centaurus might run Android apps, but is that a good idea?

A new leak hints that Microsoft's rumored Project Centaurus is a dual-screen device that will run Android apps. Is this what Microsoft needs to save its desperately-ignored Windows tablet mode?

Create apocalyptic A.I. world with this camera app that removes people from pics

What would the shots in your camera roll look like without any people? Bye Bye Camera is a new iOS app that uses artificial intelligence to remove all people from the photo., but it's not designed for practical applications.

A dual-screen device from Microsoft is in the works. Here's what we know so far

Would you be interested in a dual-screen Surface computer? The Surface Centaurus is a Microsoft project working on just that -- and Microsoft already has a prototype. Here's all the important information on Centaurus!

MacOS Catalina is a worthy update but leaves us worried about the Mac's future

The public beta of Apple’s MacOS Catalina is here, and we’ve got our first impressions of Apple’s latest operating system to see if the new features are worth the hype.

All the news, rumors and wishes for Microsoft's Surface Book 3

Want to know more about Microsoft's Surface Book 3? Here's what we know about the third-generation Surface Book, including what's likely to change, when it will be released, and more useful information!

After Lightroom and Photoshop, Loupedeck brings tactile edits to Camera RAW

Loupedeck, the photo-editing keyboard, can now work round-trip for editing a photo in Lightroom, Adobe Camera RAW, and Photoshop. The new Camera RAW integration continues to add to the Loupedeck Plus roster of compatible software.

The best travel power adapters for international jet-setters

We recently tried out several of the best travel adapters on our journeys around the globe, and these are our favorite models so far. If you want to keep your gadgets juiced on the go, then snag one of these.

Pre-Prime Day Deal: Amazon has the best offer on the 13-inch MacBook Pro

Prime Day is less than three weeks away, but we’ve already seen some sweet Apple discounts popping up lately. If you're hungry for a deal before Prime Day, Amazon has the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro on sale right now for a nice $200 discount.
Emerging Tech

A Netflix data scientist taught an A.I. to recognize smooching scenes in movies

A senior data scientist at Netflix has taught an A.I. algorithm to recognize kissing scenes in movies. Here's why it could turn out to be a very useful tool for the future of moviemaking.

If you can only buy one, should it be the MacBook Pro or the iPad Pro?

If you need a powerful, portable device that can handle any task you throw at it, both the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro fit the bill. But which one is best? We run down the pros and cons of each device to help you decide which one you should…

Missing more ports and a better keyboard? Here's where to buy a 2015 MacBook Pro

Buying a second-hand Mac can be a tricky business, fraught with rip-offs and shady sellers. If you want to avoid the pitfalls and grab yourself a bargain, we’ve got all the tips you need.

Nvidia's new Super RTX cards may get announced on July 2 to counter AMD

The Nvidia RTX Super graphics cards could be just a few weeks away from general release and they could help fix the high prices of current-generation GPUs. Here's everything we know about these new super cards.

Amazon Prime Day 2019: Predictions for July 15 and the best deals now

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is going to be on July 15 and July 16. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what this massive 2-day event will entail.