Computers Can Dream

If computers could dream, what would it look like? Moreover, if computers were artists, would technology produce paintings akin to Escher or Dali masterpieces?

After testing the ability of Google’s AI to recognize images, these conclusions were made:

Google software engineers analyzed computer ‘dreams’ (the latest images, produced by computers). These images show strange combinations of animals-pig snails, dog-fish and camel birds. Two main characteristics of the images are repetitive designs and off-the-wall subject matter.

So, why does the creation of these images matter? Do we wish to one day understand a robot’s artistic ability? Not exactly, it seems these studies are conducted for science in order to assess the learning capabilities of computers. Creativity, it seems, is a plus!

How does this work?

The nervous system of animals inspired the neural network of computers.

When fed images, the neural network processes the pictures in layers of understanding. The first layer relays the message to the second layer which then processes the image further. This repeats 10-30 times until the computer recognizes the image. The neural network then, sometimes with small success, produces the identity of the image hence image recognition.

Computers Can Dream

With this test proving successful, Google realized they could reverse the process. An object was introduced to the neural network and it produced a picture or artwork of the object. The computer associated the image with certain criteria, not necessarily size and shape. When generating images, the computer incorporated other images that were included in pictures found for reference. For example, if the object given, is a dumbbell, the computer might incorporate the weightlifter’s arm into the image as well, considering this is usually how weights are displayed in pictures online.

Computers Can Dream

Art at new levels

Artists may envy the computer’s ability to create such beauty, especially since mechanical eyes see objects where human eyes may not recognize. For instance, seeing buildings in the horizon or birds in images of leaves is remarkable for an artificial network of neurons. The combination of images, or rather called inceptionism, is stunning to say the least.

Finally, computers were given a canvas of white noise in which patterns were extracted creating dreamscapes. The computer had full reign over its masterpiece. These pictures, taken from the mechanical mind, are what we previously referred to as ‘dreams’. These images could only come from the most creative imagination – the imagination of our future.

Computers Can Dream

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Sherrie is a freelance writer and artist with over 10 years of experience. She spends most of her time giving life to the renegade thoughts. As the words erupt and form new life, she knows that she is yet again free from the nagging persistence of her muse. She is a mother of three and a lifetime fan of the thought-provoking and questionable aspects of the universe.