If you had the chance to attend SXSW in Austin, TX, last week, you may have enjoyed a customized drink designed by "Watson", IBM's most advanced cognitive computing platform. IBM's Cognitive Bar was one of the big hits at the conference. Watson's cognitive skills will change Food&Beverage as we know it!
You may remember Watson as the first computer to beat the world champion in "Jeopardy" 5 years ago. At the time, some cried out that artificial intelligence would be the end of humanity as we know it.
Actually, in the 5 years since his game show win, Watson has evolved into a worthy assistant to humans in many aspects!
His cognitive skills allow him to make ever smarter, more helpful suggestions, much to our benefit.
Watson is world leading in his technical capability to organize unstructured data, understand complex questions and present answers and solutions! He is a thinking computer.
The demonstration at the Cognitive Bar in Austin explained it clearly.
Patrons arriving at the bar make a few, easy decisions: current mood, location and a list of your favorite ingredients.
A memory chip stores the information.
The patron proceeds to the bar as usual where human bartenders are ready to serve.
"Watson Twist" takes the guessing game out of the menu options.
The Patron swipes the microchip across a reader. Watson Twist spits out the perfect recipe for the most satisfying drink. The bartender puts it together.
Attending journalists were thrilled. The drinks often contained unexpected, yet delicious, new concoctions. New, completely customized cocktails were offered to every patron.
While this is fun and a nice event app entertainment angle, Watson can actually achieve a lot more in Food & Beverage.
Back in 2014 IBM brought the first cognitive food truck to SXSW.
Watson was programmed to analyze food related tweets - and create new recipes based on current favorites to feed festival goers.
In April of 2015 Chef Watson released its first cook book. 65 recipes conceived by the super computer and a team of American chefs that were produced by Watson's ability to extract facts from millions of pages of literature and draw relationships between them. This allowed it to produce a database of recipes, dish types, cooking styles, human psychology, and taste preferences, along with feedback and oversight from chefs and diners, and from that, create new dishes.
The next important step will come by combining Watson's culinary skills with Watson's extensive health care knowledge.
In 2013 IBM partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering to develop Watson's oncology data base.
Watson for Oncology has an advanced ability to analyze the meaning and context of structured and unstructured data in clinical notes and reports, easily assimilating key patient information written in plain English that may be critical to selecting a treatment pathway.
By combining attributes from the patient’s file with clinical expertise, external research, and data, Watson for Oncology identifies potential treatment plans for a patient. This means doctors can consider the treatment options provided by Watson when making decisions for individual patients.
Watson ranks identified treatment options and provides links to supporting evidence for each option to help oncologists as they consider treatment options for their patient. Watson for Oncology draws from an impressive corpus of information, including MSK curated literature and rationales, as well as over 290 medical journals, over 200 textbooks, and 12 million pages of text. Watson for Oncology also supplies for consideration supporting evidence in the form of administration information, as well as warnings and toxicities for each drug.
Combining Health and Food is the logical next step.
Watson is a cloud based API. Developers are invited to participate in the development of new Watson-based apps.
Nutrino already developed Watson based apps, available in your app store, that will guide you through very personal, customized diet choices.
Yaron Hadad, Nutrino's co-founder and Chief Science Officer, calls this the "Nutrition Revolution".
At this time, 100 iOS based Watson apps are available. Many assist in customer relations.
Take the Passenger+ iOS app for SAS, Scandanvia's largest airline, for example. Flight attendants can quickly view a passenger's past preferences and purchases to offer more of what the flyer might want or need during travel before they even ask.
We can envision the event where our attendees answer a few questions about mood, health, food likes and dislikes and allergies to get equipped with their very customized microchip that will guide their choices at the restaurant stations or allow Watson to create a fresh new, totally custom dish on the spot. We will still have chefs to whip it up! At least for now.
It's not all just serious and cerebral.
Princess Leia and IBM have teamed up to support Bots in this brand new cognitive world with "Coping With Humans".
Oh yes, it is a brand new world.
Have a wonderful week!
Sources: IBM, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Nutrino,