Artificial Intelligence in the kitchen – Our homes are increasingly digital. Intelligent devices are finding a gap between our four walls and are making many tasks easier for us. However, questions remain when it comes to a networked smart home. That’s why we talked to Hoang Richter, head of AI projects and responsible for Bosch’s Series 8 AI oven.
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How would you Define the Concept of “Artificial Intelligence (AI)”?
It is a question that cannot be answered in one sentence because “artificial intelligence” is comprehensive. In general, it consists of reproducing the decision-making process that humans have through their intelligence. This can start with simple control systems like, for example, when a character in a video game finds the way from A to B and can be extended to highly complex algorithms for autonomous mobility or rocket fuel calculation.
Why do we Need Artificial Intelligence in the Home?
Artificial intelligence simplifies unpleasant household tasks. For example, robotic vacuum cleaners or lawnmowers work in our houses or gardens when needed. This means that you no longer have to vacuum or mow the lawn but only perform small tasks that the robot cannot yet do. You get rid of tedious routine work to concentrate on the essential things in life. Today, the focus is still on comfort. As the systems improve, they can help the user more. But we are not yet at the stage where appliances do our thinking for us.
Just How Does it Work from a Technical Point of View?
The oven has numerous sensors. Different sensors are used depending on what is being cooked, such as dough or meat. These measure interior temperature, humidity, heat, or air circulation. Behind it is an automatic learning system, a neural network that has learned to recognize specific sequences from this data and makes intelligent predictions, such as how long the baking or cooking process will take.
Is the oven Capable of Learning? Does it get even More Intelligent over Time? If so, How Does it Work?
Yes, the oven can learn, but for now, only in terms of prediction. We are still working to develop it further. In principle, all the people who use the oven help to optimize the forecast. We take the collected data, analyze it, and let our data center machine continuously learn. The customer will not notice any significant change, just that when cooking the same dish, the oven will have become more precise. We also understand when the user prepares something extraordinary. In this way, we constantly extend this neural network.
With this Oven, is it Possible for a Dish to go Wrong?
Sensor technology is already developing, so nothing should go wrong. The oven has passed many tests and has been tested and evaluated repeatedly. An excellent team is behind it, and we are all proud of the baked sensor. It is clear that somewhat can always happen, and I cannot rule it out 100%. In that case, we will learn more to make the necessary improvements.
Will our kitchen Appliances ever be more Innovative than Ours?
That is an interesting question. I’ll answer another question: what does “smarter than us” mean? If you say you can’t make a cake and have an oven that makes it for you, then is it more intelligent than you? I think this is a philosophical question. We, as human beings, are “tool animals.” We are intelligent beings who have learned to be better with the help of tools. A car, for example, is nothing more than a tool, an extension of our legs. Or think of the Internet, which is an extension of our brain. The same thing happens with artificial intelligence. It is a tool that helps you.
But we can Still Turn it Off.
Yes, unless there is a cultural change. But for now, people must understand that they are in control. It will not be the case, at least not shortly, that you will not be able to adjust anything yourself, for example, in the oven. Another option is to manually control your range and adjust the temperature, time, etc. This is good because artificial intelligence helps us, but it shouldn’t take over in all cases. There will always be people, especially in cooking, who have their way of making a dish. I know exactly what I must do for myself if I cook well. And then I want an appliance that helps me only as much as I want.
Where are the Limits of AI? Are There Areas of the Home that it won’t go into, Or Will There Come a Time When AI will be used Everywhere?
First, we would have to think if there are still areas in which it has not entered. We no longer need to manually turn on the light bulbs, and we can use voice assistants. And everything will become more brilliant if it helps us in our daily work. AI may be restricted in areas where sensitive data is used. Home appliances are less of a problem than autonomous driving, where automated processes raise essential ethical questions, such as accidents involving human lives.
Are Consumers still Skeptical of New Technologies?
Yes, definitely. According to a recently published study, in Germany, the acceptance of Artificial Intelligence was only 14% in 2018. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, uptake has recently increased to 56% and internationally to 54%. Because of this crisis, people have to do many more things digitally, a growing trend. This displays how quickly things can change and acceptance can develop.
What is the Vision for the Kitchen of the Future?
The future kitchen will remove more and more stress from daily life by using Artificial Intelligence to reduce and facilitate tasks. What interests me is that the kitchen brings people together to have fun cooking, trying new things, and eating healthy. That’s why support is essential, like a good chef standing behind you and ensuring everything runs smoothly.
Can you Consider a Scenario Where we don’t even Have to go into the Kitchen to Cook, and She Does Everything Herself?
You can imagine, no doubt. Are we ready? Not yet. But there is always a creative thought. Just look at images from the 19th or early 20th century that show how people imagined locomotion in 100 years. They imagined flying through the air, for example, with motorized bicycles. Today’s world is a little different, but we pass through the air in planes that we don’t have to power ourselves. So the day will come when we have a completely autonomous kitchen. It will be interesting to see what it looks like.
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