Thursday, October 11, 2012

Can a robot cook?

Evan Selinger and Evelyn Kim, writing in The Atlantic, ask "Can a robot learn to cook?" They illustrate their article with The Jetsons robot maid Rosey and ask if it could ever acquire the tacit knowledge required to know if chicken was cooked properly. Well in fact there has been a Computer Cooking Competition (CCC) taking place for five years now where the competitors have to devise menus from restricted lists of ingredients. The CCC started out as a bit of fun within the case-based reasoning community but has now grown into something much more serious.
    "The goal of the CCC is attract new people (e.g., students) to work with AI technologies such as case-based reasoning, semantic technologies, search, and information extraction. Cooking is fun, particularly when using a computer to design the menu. And the contest will attract public interest. Since everybody knows something about cooking, people will be curious about how well a computer can cook."