Google’s Virtual Brain Goes On YouTube And Looks For Cat Videos

Kaibara87 (CC)

Sounds like Google’s virtual “brain” consisting of 16,000 networked computers does a pretty good job of enjoying the same dumb stuff that humans do. John Markoff reports for the Sydney Morning Herald:

Inside Google’s secretive X laboratory, known for inventing self-driving cars and augmented reality glasses, a small group of researchers began working several years ago on a simulation of the human brain.

There Google scientists created one of the largest neural networks for machine learning by connecting 16,000 computer processors, which they turned loose on the internet to learn on its own.

Presented with 10 million digital images found in YouTube videos, what did Google’s brain do? What millions of humans do with YouTube: looked for cats.

The neural network taught itself to recognise cats, which is actually no frivolous activity. This week the researchers will present the results of their work at a conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Google scientists and programmers will note that while it is hardly news that the internet is full of cat videos, the simulation nevertheless surprised them. It performed far better than any previous effort by roughly doubling its accuracy in recognising objects in a challenging list of 20,000 distinct items…

[continues in the Sydney Morning Herald]


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12 Comments on "Google’s Virtual Brain Goes On YouTube And Looks For Cat Videos"

  1. Liam_McGonagle | Jun 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm |

    Wouldn’t it be amazing if the armies of online middle-aged cat ladies could be marshalled into anthropomorphizing PEOPLE?  Could turn the anti-war, human rights movement into a profit-making venture at 10 cents per kiloclick.

  2. JoiquimCouteau | Jun 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm |

    Finally, cognitive scientists can say they’ve achieved something.

  3. Liam_McGonagle | Jun 26, 2012 at 2:28 pm |

    Here’s my first go at anthropomorphizing a human.  Crude, to be sure, certainly awaiting the greater talents and resources of a housebound 55 year old cat lady with mad photoshop skillz, but an opening gambit none-the-less:

  4. Monkey See Monkey Do | Jun 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

    A.I is trying to understand the functioning of simpler ogranisms before it moves on to humans. When A.I. understands how life works and the complexity of it, it will move in to take over and control it.

    • zombieslapper | Jun 26, 2012 at 2:42 pm |

      If that were true then it would have started with dogs.

      • Cats may be smarter but they don’t have the same love and loyalty as dogs, which in my opinion is a superior trait to intelligent arrogance.

        Perhaps the A.I is focusing on the more relatively base trait of intelligence (regardless of level  or form), before moving on to animals that share true connections and emotions with other species? Human and dog have shared a symbiotic life for centuries… Not so much with cats.

        • zombieslapper | Jun 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm |

           “they don’t have the same love and loyalty as dogs”

          You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

          • Have you ever heard a cat helping its owner when they’re in trouble? How many times have you heard dogs protecting their owners and saving them from deadly situations? Cleary you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

  5. Oddly enough my cat searches for computer videos.

  6. Actually, this just goes to show that felines continue ride the coattails of human evolution. Cats have secured their spot for another century.

  7. > Google’s Virtual Brain Goes On YouTube And Looks For Cat Videos

    Google has spent more time and money on censorship than even China.
    This little project pales in comparison to their already extensive content recognition system.

    But it’s a great ploy to disguise & promote their censorship tools as trolling for pussy vidz.

  8. Calypso_1 | Jun 27, 2012 at 9:44 am |

    So Baast is the first of the old ones to emerge from the Matrix…I knew all those cats prancing on computer keyboards were up to something.   

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