Latest in Science

Image credit:

Facebook and Google get neural networks to create art

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
June 20, 2015
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

For Facebook and Google, it's not enough for computers to recognize images... they should create images, too. Both tech firms have just shown off neural networks that automatically generate pictures based on their understanding of what objects look like. Facebook's approach uses two of these networks to produce tiny thumbnail images. The technique is much like what you'd experience if you learned painting from a harsh (if not especially daring) critic. The first algorithm creates pictures based on a random vector, while the second checks them for realistic objects and rejects the fake-looking shots; over time, you're left with the most convincing results. The current output is good enough that 40 percent of pictures fooled human viewers, and there's a chance that they'll become more realistic with further refinements.

Google's take heads in the opposite direction. Instead of striving for realism, it's producing art by letting the neural network run wild and decide on the visual elements that it wants to emphasize. If you give the machine a photo of the sky and it thinks there are birds in the scene, it'll keep amplifying those avian traits until they're impossible to miss. The finished work is more than a little trippy, especially if you give it random noise as its source material -- as you can see above, the results give impressionist and surrealist painters a run for their money. You're not likely to see these Facebook and Google programs replacing human artists and photographers, but they're skilled enough to draw images you might enjoy.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

The Apple Watch Series 6 is already discounted at Amazon

The Apple Watch Series 6 is already discounted at Amazon

View
How and where to pre-order an Xbox Series X or S

How and where to pre-order an Xbox Series X or S

View
Amazon's $500 'Prime Bike' is a connected spin bike made by Echelon

Amazon's $500 'Prime Bike' is a connected spin bike made by Echelon

View
Jabra's Elite 85t true wireless earbuds offer adjustable ANC for $229

Jabra's Elite 85t true wireless earbuds offer adjustable ANC for $229

View
Microsoft Teams will add breakout rooms and automated meeting recaps

Microsoft Teams will add breakout rooms and automated meeting recaps

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr