AI creates fictional scenes out of real-life photos

It’s paint by numbers for creating dreamy worlds.

AI's not quite ready to build photorealistic worlds on its own. But it's getting pretty close.

Researcher Qifeng Chen of Stanford and Intel fed his AI system 5,000 photos from German streets. Then, with some human help it can build slightly blurry made-up scenes. The image at the top of this article is a example of the network's output.

To create an image a human needs to tell the AI system what goes where. Put a car here, put a building there, place a tree right there. It's paint by numbers and the system generates a wholly unique scene based on that input.

Chen's AI isn't quite good enough to create photorealistic scenes just yet. It doesn't know enough to fill in all those tiny pixels. It's not going to replace the high-end special effects houses that spend months building a world. But, it could be used to create video game and VR worlds where not everything needs to look perfect in the near future.

Intel plans on showing off the tech at the International Conference on Computer Vision in October.