Thailand’s government cares about the quality of the country’s restaurants. It cares so much, in fact, that it’s building a robot capable of sampling Thai cuisine and judging it against a government-mandated standard.
In an episode of bureaucratic nomenclature that seems right out of a George Orwell novel—if Orwell had become a celebrity chef instead of a writer of political parables—the Thai government has named the group tasked with designing the robot the “Thai Delicious Committee.” According to The New York Times, the robot, which costs roughly $100,000 to build, comes with a multitude of sensors capable of detecting a food’s chemical signatures.
In addition to the robot, the Thai Delicious Committee has built an app full of government-approved Thai recipes, with an eye toward convincing restaurants throughout the country to raise their culinary game. That app is available in the iTunes app store:
Considering the sophistication of the human mouth, with its thousands of taste buds, it would seem foolish to attempt to build a robot capable of performing at a comparable level. In order to teach the machine to judge food, its builders had 120 human tasters—volunteers from the University of Bangkok—taste and rate soups, and then used the winning soup as a baseline for the machine’s algorithms. More dishes will find their way into the database, according to the Thai government.
Of course, there’s another way to test whether a particular dish is up to snuff: place a bite of it in your mouth and chew.
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Images: Piti Tan/Shutterstock, Thai Delicious Committee