Facebook Researchers Create AI System That Turns Food Photos Into Written Recipes


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Banana date bread with Walnuts recipe from Vegan World Fusion Cuisine cookbook. [Photo credit: Getty]

Researchers at Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) group have developed a piece of AI software that can determine what ingredients were used to make a certain dish and describe how they were assembled.

The AI system — built by research scientist Adrianna Romero and several others at FAIR’s Montreal lab — can look at a photo of some banana bread, for example, list the ingredients that went into it, and describe the method required to make it.

"Everyone is always taking pictures of their meals these days," said Joelle Pineau, head of FAIR’s Montreal lab, in an interview.  "Sometimes there’s ingredients you can see but there’s also ingredients you can’t always see, like sugar and salt and things like that," she added. "So they train it [the AI] with pairs of images and recipes. But then when they test it they just give the image and it generates a recipe."

While some Facebook and Instagram users would undoubtedly enjoy this feature, Pineau said the social media giant doesn’t currently have any plans to roll out the recipe generating AI.

Asked why FAIR developed the AI system, Pineau said: "We need to have machines that understand the world. Understand not just the visible in the world, but understand that when you have a cake there’s usually sugar in there." 

The scientists at Facebook aren’t the only ones developing recipe generating AI systems. MIT researchers announced last July that they’d built a similar system that was trained on a a dataset of one million photos and one million recipes.

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Banana date bread with Walnuts recipe from Vegan World Fusion Cuisine cookbook. [Photo credit: Getty]

Researchers at Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) group have developed a piece of AI software that can determine what ingredients were used to make a certain dish and describe how they were assembled.

The AI system — built by research scientist Adrianna Romero and several others at FAIR’s Montreal lab — can look at a photo of some banana bread, for example, list the ingredients that went into it, and describe the method required to make it.

“Everyone is always taking pictures of their meals these days,” said Joelle Pineau, head of FAIR’s Montreal lab, in an interview.  “Sometimes there’s ingredients you can see but there’s also ingredients you can’t always see, like sugar and salt and things like that,” she added. “So they train it [the AI] with pairs of images and recipes. But then when they test it they just give the image and it generates a recipe.”

While some Facebook and Instagram users would undoubtedly enjoy this feature, Pineau said the social media giant doesn’t currently have any plans to roll out the recipe generating AI.

Asked why FAIR developed the AI system, Pineau said: “We need to have machines that understand the world. Understand not just the visible in the world, but understand that when you have a cake there’s usually sugar in there.” 

The scientists at Facebook aren’t the only ones developing recipe generating AI systems. MIT researchers announced last July that they’d built a similar system that was trained on a a dataset of one million photos and one million recipes.

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