Blood-pumped, emotion-ridden fleshbags like you or I are not the intended audience of Heinz’s latest book. The AI Cook Book (free download) is “the first recipe book for artificial intelligence”, necessary, the company says, because “while it’s hard to deny that AI has mastered many things over the last few years, something that still leaves a lot to be desired are its culinary skills”.
It isn’t wrong. Last summer, New Zealand supermarket Pak ‘n Save experimented with an AI meal generator, which would recommend recipes from consumers’ leftovers. It ended up suggesting recipes for ant poison-flavoured jelly and glue sandwiches.
How far AI still has to go on the food front is further evidenced in the book’s opening pages, which shows some hellish AI generated images resulting from banal prompts like ‘happy family eating pasta’ (think Dolmio ad version of Goya’s Satan Eating His Son) or ‘photography of spaghetti’ (more intestinal extraction on a plate).
On the pages that follow come still AI generated, but far more appealing images of dishes that can be made using products from the recently launched Heinz’s Culinary Tomato range (yes, the book is chiefly a marketing ruse) – which run alongside recipes that are “Generated by AI, powered by Heinz Expertise”. The full, lengthy prompt required to generate the more palatable pictures is included.
The recipes are easy to follow, regardless of the slightly complicated premise, making the book a handy resource beyond the initial gag.
‘Let’s all laugh at AI’ is a bit last year (we’re well into cowering at its dystopic potential by now) but it’s a far more engaging attempt at showcasing a product range than most.