Searching With and Without AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Does AI stand for artificial intelligence or abysmal information? Maybe the latter if a recent search for lamb chop recipes using AI was any indication.

It started with Evernote. Searching with their new AI feature (“Search quality accuracy and availability may vary”) “show me recipes for lamb chops” returned 3255 results (my entire recipe notebook) with the top 100 most relevant posted. Of those the first 3 were lamb chop recipes, followed by Vietnamese-Style Baked Chicken Recipe.

Switching it around to “show me lamb chop recipes (chop or chops same results) started off with pork chops…

“Lamb chops” took 10 spots to come up with the first lamb chop recipe. Standard mode gave me 412 results with lamb chops the 6th and 7th results.

Searching The NY Times Cooking website has always been a problem and for years, their answer is that they’re aware and working on it. Years. There were 23 results from my saved recipes–5 were for lamb chops. First up was lamb shanks, followed by lamb meatballs and finally in the third spot, lamb chops, or a success rate of about 22%.

In the general database 46 out of 218 were for lamb chops (21%). At least the first 20 items did have chops in the title (search results “most relevant”), but also included were recipes for Lima Bean and Porcini Soup, All Purpose Green Sauce (“spread in roast beef, lamb or pork sandwiches”) and even Lamb Stuffed with Oysters (love both of them, not sure I’d ever think to put them together).

In the middle of my frustration, email from the Washington Post Tech Friend titled “Amazon’s useless shopping bot ”arrived. Read it, laughed and shot an email off to the writer to share my AI frustration. She responded with “haha, what did you get instead of lamb chops?”  I told her about the AI results and then dissed the NY Times too.

In the interest of fairness, it was time to search the WP.  The top result? “7 terrific tarragon recipes to highlight the underappreciated herb” not a lamb chop recipe among them. Lamb chops on their own brought up 5 great places to eat in London and no lamb recipes on the first page. But…when you add the filter “recipes” voilà the first 9 out of 185 were lamb chop recipes.

I rejoined Eat Your Books recently but haven’t updated my cookbooks there, so results there would have been limited. Little did I know. That came up with 77 results and all 77 of them had lamb chops. What a concept! Think it’s time to catalog all my cookbooks…

If anyone has search tips (or frustrations), please leave them in the comments.


AI and tarragon photos from Stencil




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