Google AI experiments help you appreciate neural networks

And they're more than a little entertaining.

Sure, you may know that neural networks are spicing up your photos and translating languages, but what if you want a better appreciation of how they function? Google can help. It just launched an AI Experiments site that puts machine learning to work in a direct (and often entertaining) way. The highlight by far is Giorgio Cam -- put an object in front of your phone or PC camera and the AI will rattle off a quick rhyme based on what it thinks it's seeing. It's surprisingly accurate, fast and occasionally chuckle-worthy.

Other experiments are worth checking out, although you may need to compile the code or watch to get a feel for them. Quick, Draw! is effectively AI Pictionary; Infinite Drum Machine gathers sounds by similarity, and lets you sequence them into simple tracks; Bird Sounds uses neural networking to arrange and visualize calls based on their qualities (say, shrill versus melodic). Sadly, one of the most promising, Thing Translator, isn't usable unless you download the source code and build it yourself.

Thankfully, the list is likely to get larger. Google is taking submissions, and it's fairly open-minded as to how contributors design their projects. If enough people step up to the plate, AI Experiments could be the go-to place for anyone wanting a primer on what machine learning can do.