The Washington Post looks at the speedy advance of robot-tasting technology, assuming the Japanese-invented, supercute Health and Food Advice Robot, which can distinguish between 30 types of wine and warn its owners against things they really shouldn’t be indulging in, counts as an advance. For tests like the Barbera one, these robots use what are called—really—e-tongues and e-noses. The Post quotes wine critic Anthony Dias Blue on the real reason why computers will never write our tasting notes: “[N]o machine can muster the level of creative smoke-blowing that wine writers can come up with to describe what they are tasting. It takes that special human ability to come up with the hyperbole to really describe a wine.”
Also in the Post story: Last month, the USDA began a pilot program using machines to grade meat. The robots work from photographs of meat—there’s no e-tasting here—and officials say they almost always agree with human assessments. On the other hand, as the agency admits, it might be problematic if the robots were hacked into and graded, say, protein substitutes as Prime.