Artificial intelligence can now figure out recipes based on images of pizza. New York thin-crust topped with pesto chicken. What do you think makes for the perfect pizza? A recent study suggests neural networks could create the ultimate pie. The study out of MIT, which appeared earlier this month on Arxiv.org,
Cooking well takes patience, time, practice, and skill, and so is it possible for a machine to do what professional human chefs take years to perfect? A new study in deep neural networking, titled "How to make a pizza: Learning a compositional layer-based GAN model" and recently published on arxiv.org The PizzaGAN project is described as an experiment in how to teach a machine to make a pizza by recognizing aspects of cooking, such as adding and subtracting ingredients or cooking the dish. The Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) deep learning model is trained to recognize these different steps and objects, and by doing so, is able to view a single image of a pizza, dissect and peel apart each object or change'layer,' and recreate a step-by-step guide to cook it. "Given only weak image-level supervision, the operators are trained to generate a visual layer that needs to be added to or removed from the existing image," the research paper explains.
The result is a system that isn't perfect (it's better at ordering synethetic pizza images than real ones), but it's still reasonably accurate. The scientists found that PizzaGAN could determine the right order 88 percent of the time, albeit using pizzas with just two toppings. It would likely have a harder time with a fully decked-out pie. You won't see pizza bots in the near future, since it'd take a while to teach robots to prepare and cook pizza all on their own. The lessons learned here could be valuable going forward, though, and not just in the cooking realm.
Traditional pizza makers may have just met their match. A Seattle firm has unveiled an assembly-line-style food production robotic platform that is capable of making 300 pizzas an hour. An empty crust is loaded onto the conveyor belt and using computer vision, configurable equipment and deep learning, the robot adds desired toppings and bakes the pie to perfection. The robotic pizza maker was developed by Picnic, which designs food production technology and Robotics-as-a-Service solutions. 'We are defining the new standard for food preparation and offer the only pizza automation platform supporting mass customization,' said Picnic CEO Clayton Wood.
Not even your local pizza joint is safe from the forward progress of automation. At CES, a Seattle based Picnic showcased its automated pizza-making system that can swiftly assemble and cook pies with minimal human interaction. The system, which consists of three compact modular panels that assemble to form a conveyor belt, is capable of taking a pre-made pizza crust, adorning it with toppings, and cooking the pie to pre-specified doneness. What's even more compelling than the fact the pizza is made with little to no human input, however, is the speed at which Picnic's bot operates. According to CEO Clayton Wood, the bot can churn out an impressive 300 12-inch pizzas every hour when at max capacity.