Google engineers developed an A.I. that can read pictures and interpret them into completely new images. And apparently it’s incredibly fond of dogs.
The system is called Deep Dream; it uses a “neural network” through which it recognizes patterns in images and then re-creates them in a fractal-like manner.
The whole idea is to build a deeper understanding of images. But what we want to know, of course, is why do dogs keep showing up in the renderings?
Really, what’s with the dogs?
Deep Dream, like us, is specially programmed to see dogs everywhere. The software is originally trained to “learn” thousands of images. In this case, Deep Dream was fed a significant number of dog images in its initial training, causing it to recognize dogs in everything it sees.
In a blogpost, Google engineers Alexander Mordvintsev, Christopher Olah and Mike Tyka disclosed some insight on the neural network:
This network was trained mostly on images of animals, so naturally it tends to interpret shapes as animals. But because the data is stored at such a high abstraction, the results are an interesting remix of these learned features.
Once it’s given an image, Deep Dream will find anything with the slightest resemblance to a canine and multiply it ad infinitum. The feedback loop results in hallucinogenic images of contorted slug puppies in kaleidoscopic worlds.
They call the technique Inceptionism, in reference to the state of the art neural network architecture it uses, “Inception.” Or should we say, Dogception.
I tried the process myself with the Dream Scope app. It features sixteen different filters, but for “best” results, use the Trippy option. Here’s what I got:
Not quite sure what to make of it other than I’m incredibly thankful that my dreams look nothing like this. And thank you Deep Dream, for confirming my strong speculation that my dog is probably part deer.
Self-proclaimed “computer guy” Johan Nordberg developed a video demonstrating how Deep Dream begins with a semi-blank slate and then slowly populates the emptiness with the randomness of the digital ether.
As the video progresses, it becomes impossible to ignore the delightfully overwhelming presence of our best friends.
If you’d like to travel further into the rabbit hole, you can enjoy the entire video below. And guess what. It’s dogs all the way down. 🙂