When Computers Imagine Cows
Forty-five years ago, Philip K. Dick wondered if Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep.
Today, the engineers at Vicarious FPC have seen what happens when computers imagine cows. This is true Artificial Intelligence (AI) at its most basic level.
In this experiment, the computer is given a picture of a cow and then the software is set free to internally visualize cows of different sizes and poses. The computer than draws what it imagines these cows to look like.
The renderings aren’t very sophisticated, but are recognizable as cows. To the left are some examples of the AI’s artwork. These were all imagined after being shown just a single picture of an actual cow. It’s experience and knowledge base does have other animals to extrapolate from to determine how the body shape and weight distribution should be to conform to a “cow”.
The idea is for Artificial Intelligence software to learn and grow, much like a human child does. At its current “age”, the Vicarious AI can only produce images that are very rough. No color yet, only grayscale. The lines are blocky and pixilated. But as its knowledge grows, these images from the computers imagination will become more realistic and more well defined.
The applications for a self-learning AI are far reaching. One simple task that it can already perform is an advanced optical character recognition (OCR). Nearly everyone that has filled out an internet form has had to prove they are human by typing in one or two random words in a “Captcha” box. With the two word Captcha, one of the words is a digital image of a word from an actual book that standard OCR was not able to decipher. However, Vicarious announced that their AI could successfully read these images 90% of the time.
An advancement over understanding text is to identify objects in photos. On line advertisers can use this technology to more accurately target their marketing campaigns to individuals. If the AI, for example, could look at photo posted on social media and identify the brand of clothes someone is wearing, any vehicles or pets, items such as purses, food or hats, this could be added to their customer data-base.
As the Artificial Intelligence software is improved, and the hardware computational power increases, it could be deployed in the real, physical world. Self driving cars could see and react to the environment around them. Robotic automation can take on more complex tasks.
Vicarious is small company with just eight employees, founded by D. Scott Phoenix and Dileep George. Without any actual products as yet, they have been able to raise significant funding based on their initial results and existing algorithms. Companies that are making use of AI and analyzing “Big Data” are the latest technology hot spots. Google recently acquired a similar company, DeepMind, for more than $500M.
Related Article – Google Invests In Artificial Intelligence With DeepMind Acquisition
Look for more developments in the AI and data mining fields as more companies work to find commercial applications to utilize the vast trove of information readily available on the internet.
(Image Credit – Vicarious )
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