Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Google Builds Neural Network, Makes It Hallucinate

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Google Builds Neural Network, Makes It Hallucinate

Article excerpt

What if if you could see the way Google thinks? Well, thanks to images just released, it is now possible to know the inner workings of the search giant's artificial neural networks. It turns out that Google's mind - if you can call it that - produces images that are both eerie and beautiful, sometimes both at the same time.

Google researchers Alexander Mordvintsev, Christopher Olah, and Mike Tyka ran an experiment in which they used image recognition software not to identify images that it was familiar with, but to create them.

After "teaching" an artificial neural network to recognize certain objects, animals, and buildings, the researchers then threw the system a loop, literally. They gave the system an image that didn't have any of these things, and tasked it with identifying any feature that it recognized, and then to alter the image to emphasize that feature. Then they took the altered image and fed it back into the system to do it over and over.

"If a cloud looks a little bit like a bird," the researchers wrote, "the network will make it look more like a bird. This in turn will make the network recognize the bird even more strongly on the next pass and so forth, until a highly detailed bird appears, seemingly out of nowhere."

The result are images that are distorted beyond imagination. Well, human imagination that is: In the images, peacocks appear out of water, doglike animals float atop buildings, and buildings emerge out of mountains. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.