Watson ponders careers in cooking, drug research as IBM makes it earn its keep

While mad game show skills are nice and all, IBM has started to nudge Watson toward the door to begin paying its own freight. After a recent foray into finance, the publicity-loving supercomputer has now brought its number-crunching prowess to the pharmaceutical and pastry industries, according to the New York Times. If the latter sounds like a stretch for a hunk of silicon, it actually isn't: researchers trained Watson with food chemistry data, flavor popularity studies and 20,000 recipes -- all of which will culminate in a tasting of the bot's freshly devised "Spanish Crescent" recipe. Watson was also put to work at GlaxoSmithKline, where it came up with 15 potential compounds as possible anti-malarial drugs after being fed all known literature and data on the disease. So far, Watson projects haven't made Big Blue much cash, but the company hopes that similar AI ventures might see its prodigal child finally pay back all those years of training.