Meet the automatic chef who will never get tired, will never get confused with ingredients and there is no way he will be offended if you tell him that you are not hungry. On the other hand, it must always be plugged in, will work only according to the recipe and will never add, God forbid, salt "to taste".
The culinary future is already knocking on the door, as researchers at the University of Cambridge in the UK have developed an AI-based robot that can prepare dishes based on watching cooking videos. The robot can analyze almost every frame of the videos and deduce from them exactly what needs to be done with each ingredient – and can even comment to a human chef if and when he makes a mistake or deviates from the recipe.
So should Gordon Ramsay, Renee Redzepi, Eyal Shani & Co. start fearing a la "Terminator" in the kitchen? Will the next Michelin star be awarded to the machine? Not yet, but wait a few years, maybe that will come too.
Watch a robot make a salad - from watching a man make a salad himself:
The director of the study, a doctoral student at the Cambridge Robotics Laboratory named Grzegorz Sukhski, explained that he and his colleagues wanted to see if it was possible to "train" a robotic chef and get him to learn how to prepare the dishes just as humans do: by identifying the ingredients and understanding how to incorporate them into a dish. "It was amazing to see the subtleties that the robot was able to grasp," the excited scientist joked, but qualified his words a bit and clarified that his robot, at least for now, "is not interested in the viral food videos on social media – D because they are very difficult to follow (due to their quick editing and effects, D.P.). On the other hand, as these robotic chefs get better and recognize the ingredients of dishes faster, they may use sites like YouTube to learn how to make a wide variety of recipes," Sokhsky added.
The robot at work, photo: screenshot from the CambridgeUniversity YouTube account
A Tale of Eight Salads
So what does Sokhsky and his collaborators' Robochef, which uses a neural network (a mathematical model inspired by brain processes, and actually trying to imitate the human brain, D.P.), know how to prepare right now? Maybe you should wait a bit with your finger on the volt, because right now there are eight simple recipes for fruit and vegetable salads, which will be enough for a light snack.
On the other hand, the researchers claimed that after the robot watched the salad preparation videos, it was able to decipher what was happening in them 93% of the time. For example, when the human presenter in the video held a knife in one hand and a carrot in the other, the robot concluded that the carrot was about to be deployed – and also cut the orange vegetable.
Moreover, the robot was also able to identify when changes were made to the recipe, such as adding a double serving of an ingredient – and even learned to identify a ninth salad recipe based on the knowledge it had accumulated in the previous eight salads.
The final product. Would you eat it?, Photo: Screenshot from CambridgeUniversity YouTube account
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