My brother, a computer-scientist, often jokes that my beloved Zojirushi rice cooker, which boasts “Advanced neuro fuzzy® logic technology,” is all the Japanese have to show for the billions of dollars they invested in “fifth generation computers.” Well, a recent post by Mark Liberman at Langauge Log seems to suggest that my brother might be right:
In the case of the four stages of rice cooking, I suppose that a fuzzy logic controller is able to treat the process as a series of fuzzy or gradient transitions rather than a series of hard, stepwise transitions.
I won’t even attempt to summarize the discussion (read Mark’s post), but I will comment that unlike my older non-fuzzy rice cooker my neuro-fuzzy cooker seems to cook the rice exactly the same every time, no matter how I adjust the water-to-rice ratio. (More advanced models give you more control over how “done” you want the rice.) It also cooks it quite evenly throughout.