When you’re craving a healthy, satisfying lunch but don’t have the time for a sit-down meal, what do you do? Thanks to the food truck fad, we don’t have to worry about having that problem anymore. Whether you want tacos or hamburgers, vegan wraps or frozen yogurt, there always seems to be a food truck to satisfy your every cuisine craving.

ibm cognitive cooking program food truck

IBM presented its Watson Cognitive Cooking Program in the form of a food truck at SXSW in Austin, TX this past weekend. Watson, IBM’s artificially intelligent supercomputer, is best known for its ability to crush Jeopardy contestants in trivia. The software company’s Cognitive Cooking Program uses machine learning tools and analytics to generate recipes based on user taste and palette preferences.

ibm watson cognitive food program

Florian Pinel, senior software engineer of the Watson group, explains, “We ask you for a few inputs and recommendations [concerning food], and then we start the creative process. There will be trillions of combinations, and we can narrow them down to a few hundred dishes to look at.” Once you put in a few recommendations, you can choose a certain cuisine. Next you can pick a certain ingredient that you want in the dish, and then distinguish further specifications, such as if you want a meat- or vegetable-based meal.

In addition to all the preferences that you can put into the program, Watson makes predictions about how well the ingredients may go together, how surprising the dish may taste, and how pleasant the final product may be. Pinel says that the technology may expand in the future to include more than just food: “Let’s say you want to try to make new perfumes, or maybe you want advice for how to dress better, or if you want to create personalized travel itineraries—these are all pretty much like recipes.” Can we talk about how awesome it would be if this food truck were everywhere?


Would you try the Watson Cognitive Cooking Program?

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All images via Fast Company

Tucker is a junior at Fordham University studying Political Science and Art History. He enjoys food, historical nonfiction, and Netflix marathons.