Dan Beaven

Skynet Kitchens

This was an installation for the Science Museum (London) during a show on food and agriculture. It was an interactive piece where participants could use machine learning to build ingredient combinations and then test their combinations with the 40 different ingredients on offer.


The bulk of the project was developing an iPad app which used Foodpairing's machine learning API to rate different ingredient combinations as well as suggest additional ingredients that might improve flavour.

animated gif of ipad app


Behind the stand, I had projected a live visualisation of the ingredient combinations that people had saved as there was a limited number of iPads.

animated gif of visualisation


Skynet was famously the name of the artificial general intelligence which played the antagonist in the Terminator franchise. A malevolent superintelligence has been a long-standing theme in much of science fiction and with what some have coined as the AI revolution it has begun to feel slightly less fictional. The uses of machine learning that most of us experience are there to find patterns in our personalities and taste in order to sell us products. This project was about exploring how machine learning and AI might soon go beyond the abstract and digital into enhancing our direct and tangible experiences. I chose to reference the artificial intelligence in terminator to raise the question of how far are we willing to accept intelligent machines into our lives.