Tech News

I ate a three course meal designed by AI and survived to tell the tale

Welcome to Adventures with AI, a column exploring what happens when artificial intelligence takes control of everyday tasks.

Eating out is one of my great pleasures; cooking is not. 

Unfortunately, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been doing a lot of the latter and almost none of the former.

Preparing meals has become paricularly tedious during London’s latest lockdown. So like an unhappy couple in a sexless marriage, I’ve been trying to spice things up in my domestic life. Only instead of strapping on a gimp mask and a ball gag, I’ve been experimenting with AI.

[Read: How do you build a pet-friendly gadget? We asked experts and animal owners]

I first sought culinary inspiration from GPT-3, a text generator that’s destined to either Take Over The World or burn out in a blaze of bigotry and pseudophilosophy

The model’s been trained on a gobsmacking quantity of data, including the entire English-language Wikipedia, two vast corpora of books, and a filtered version of the Common Crawl. With so many recipes now online, GPT-3 must have learned its way around the kitchen. Right?

I put my stomach on the line to find out.


Access to GPT-3 remains prohibitively pricey for most, but the nutritional boffins at Refluxgate kindly provided me with a selection of its recipes. 

For my starter, I whipped up a plate of honey and soy-glazed vegetables.

The model suggested every ingredient you’d expect from such a dish — except for vegetables.

Thank the Kitchen Gods it recommended serving this monstrosity with rice: