Is Pete Wells in danger of losing his job…to a robot? Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but Thailand certainly has given us a peek into the future with its recent introduction of a food-critiquing robot. The machine is the brainchild of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government, which created the high-tech machine after sampling one too many inauthentic Thai meals overseas.
The science behind the bot — named “e-delicious” and developed by the government-financed Thai Delicious Committee — is relatively straightforward. Local tasters rate different versions of Thai dishes, determining the most authentic one in each category. Researchers program the chemical composition of this chosen version into the machine, which judges future dishes against it by measuring their conductivity at different voltages. Each dish is then given a score out of 100, with anything under 80 considered not up-to-standard. In addition to an app with approved recipes, the Thai Delicious Committee has created logos that restaurants can include in their menus should they pass the taste test, a system the former political leader allegedly based off New York’s posted sanitation inspection health grades. The idea is that if restaurants do not feature the logo, fewer people will eat there and they will be forced to consider cooking more authentic, tastier food.
Though it may be a long way from making any sort of noticeable impact on the food or restaurant world, the e-delicious is a testament to the importance Thailand places on how its food is viewed globally. By building a device that will slowly eliminate inauthentic takes on the country’s many dishes, the Thai government is working to ensure that “Thai food” is viewed — and served — similarly worldwide. As a result, it appears the days of sweet, chewy pad thai may be coming to an end. Now, if only the Chinese government could do something to educate Americans about General Tso’s chicken and sesame beef.
Try these Thai recipes at home…before the e-delicious tries them: