IBM's supercomputer wrote a cookbook, and it's coming out next week

Watson, the IBM supercomputer best known for crushing “Jeopardy!” contestants at their own game, will publish its first-ever cookbook next week, according to CNN Money.

The book, “Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson,” is a collaboration between IBM’s Watson and the Institute of Culinary Education that goes on sale April 14. But this is far from an ordinary cookbook. This will be the first cookbook that’s co-created by computer algorithms.

Around three years ago, IBM began building an “idea-generating tool” for Watson, which would let the supercomputer tap into its massive data trove to create new and interesting ideas and suggestions. IBM immediately thought food would be a great category for Watson to innovate, since everyone eats and there are literally countless combinations of meals and flavours.

According to the book, IBM taught Watson all about existing food dishes so it could learn how flavours and food chemicals interact, combine and contrast. It also learned about cultural preferences for certain foods and flavours, and it also learned about nutrition.

Once it had enough data, Watson began spewing out combinations of ingredients, which the Institute of Culinary Education helped convert those ideas into real dishes used in the book.

While there are plenty of meals you might be accustomed to, Watson offers plenty of novel flavour combinations you probably wouldn’t have dreamt of. How about an Indian burrito? What about Thai quiche? Or maybe some grilled asparagus on top of some sous vide pig’s feet? 

Watson came up with thousands of recipes but eventually narrowed down the options to 100; the book only contains 65 different recipes, which are sorted by preferences and dietary constraints, but CNN Money says IBM might have more recipes and Watson cookbooks on the way.

You can pre-order the book here.

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