Lifestyle

A robot can tell if your Thai food is authentic

Robots: they already run our hotels, make our noodles, and steal our hearts with their lighthearted escapades in Pixar movies. Now, they're growing up and moving on to a career in food criticism: The New York Times reports that the Thai government (led by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra) has commissioned the construction of a robot that can rate the authenticity of whatever Thai dish you put in it. And now that it's finally here, it wants to try your pad see ew.

Reportedly, Yingluck was a bit troubled by the occasionally lackluster quality of "Thai" food that she discovered in her world travels, and wanted to come up with a way to make sure that the country's delicious cuisine wasn't being misrepresented. So she did what anyone in her situation would do, and created the Thai Delicious Committee to build a robot that could determine how close any Thai food was to the real deal.

What they developed is the e-delicious, a robot box with an "electronic tongue" and 10 sensors that figure out how close to certain flavor ideals any given dish is, using conductivity and chemical composition. Anything that rates lower than an 80 out of 100 is subpar, according to the machine's standards, which are based on what a panel of tasters agreed is the best-tasting version of any specific dish.

The developers hope to be able to sell them, eventually, for $18,000 a pop, ostensibly to insecure restaurant owners.

Adam Lapetina is a food/drink staff writer for Thrillist, and nothing can dissuade him from eating tom yum from a Brooklyn deli. Read his musings on Twitter at @adamlapetina.