Tag Archives | Google

Why Google’s Deep Dream Is Future Kitsch

A Google Deep Dream rendering of the September 11, 2001, attack on the Twin Towers. (Photo: Matěj Schneider/Twitter)

A Google Deep Dream rendering of the September 11, 2001, attack on the Twin Towers. (Photo: Matěj Schneider/Twitter)

Are you tired of hearing about Google’s Deep Dream algorithm yet?

Over at Pacific Standard, Kyle Chayka explores how Google’s Deep Dream is ultimately kitsch.

Kitsch “offers instantaneous emotional gratification without intellectual effort, without the requirement of distance, without sublimation,” according to the philosopher Walter Benjamin, a pioneer of the idea. The description fits perfectly for this new genre of algorithmically generated imagery. It requires no criticality or particular intellectual effort to digest, nor does it provide much reward in return. Deep Dream is our own visual culture, chopped up in a blender and spoon-fed back to us.

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Google DeepDream’s Nightmare Psychedelia

The internet is abuzz with wonder and perverse glee because the Mad Scientists responsible for Google Image’s AI have released the hounds a set of tools that let the average Joe and Jane see how Google Images “sees” the world (just don’t ask it about Gorillas. Trust me).

It’s a darkly trippy thing indeed: one part Naked Lunch, a dash of Cthulhu Mythos, a hint of Hieronymus Bosch and a sprig of HR Giger for flavor. And dogs. Lots and lots of dogs.

Puts the "monster" in Flying Spaghetti Monster

Puts the “monster” in Flying Spaghetti Monster

It’s called DeepDream and reddit gives us the skinny:

Deep Learning is a new field within Machine Learning. In the past 4 years researchers have been training neural networks with a very large number of layers. Algorithms are learning how to classify images to a much greater accuracy than before: you can give them an image of a cat or a dog and they will be able to tell the difference.

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Conspiracy or Coincidence? Gmail version

Any Disinfonaut worth his or her salt will surely already know how the CIA made Google and how Google is poised to become the Ministry of Truth.

Well…

Say it ain't so, Morpheus!

Say it ain’t so, Morpheus!

The dauntless conspiriologists at The Resistance Journals have made another alarming discovery of a symbolic nature, this time concerning Google’s popular email platform, Gmail.

They write:

Freemasonry, like many dozens of other secret societies have branches and off-shoots. I won’t get any deeper into it for two reasons. 1. You can literally spend 15 minutes on YouTube and learn more than the average person will ever know, and 2. because it’s not needed for this article.

One of these Freemasonic “sister” organizations (if you can call it that), and I say sister for a reason, is the “Order of the Eastern Star.”

The Order of the Eastern Star is a special part of Freemasonry (again, not sure if I should call it that) because members can be both male and female.

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Computer Hallucinations: Large Scale Deep Neural Net

red-tree-small-long

Recently, Disinfo ran an article about how Google set up feedback loops to its image recognition software and created some very interesting “dream”-like effects. Yeah, Google. “Dream.” You can view a gallery of their images here.

Some other software engineers, among whom is Jonas Degrave, a Belgian PhD student, who are not nearly as concerned with euphemism, have created an “LSD neural net,” which is similar in concept to Google’s feedback loops. Except they actually made a channel on Twitch that shows the algorithmic permutations in real time video, constantly zooming in like a fractal. Remarkably, the viewers in the video chat can type in two objects, for example “tent + gondola,” and the algorithm randomly choose one entry and morph using images of these objects. It is really quite interesting.

If you’re some kind of freak that actually knows how this stuff works, feel free to check out the write up giving background on how the engineers technically created this piece on Jonas Degrave’s site.… Read the rest

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Yes, androids do dream of electric sheep

Alex Hern at The Guardian:

Google sets up feedback loop in its image recognition neural network – which looks for patterns in pictures – creating hallucinatory images of animals, buildings and landscapes which veer from beautiful to terrifying.

What do machines dream of? New images released by Google give us one potential answer: hypnotic landscapes of buildings, fountains and bridges merging into one.

The pictures, which veer from beautiful to terrifying, were created by the company’s image recognition neural network, which has been “taught” to identify features such as buildings, animals and objects in photographs.

They were created by feeding a picture into the network, asking it to recognise a feature of it, and modify the picture to emphasise the feature it recognises. That modified picture is then fed back into the network, which is again tasked to recognise features and emphasise them, and so on. Eventually, the feedback loop modifies the picture beyond all recognition.

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Google Patents ‘Creepy’ Cuddly Toys to Run Your Home

Would you let Ted run your home? Google is thinking you just might and has patented some Internet-connected toys that can do just that, per BBC News:

Google’s R&D team has looked into making internet-connected toys that control smart home appliances.

google toys

The firm has published a patent that describes devices that would turn their heads towards users and listen to what they were saying, before sending commands to remote computer servers.

The three-year old patent was spotted recently by the legal technology firm SmartUp.

It described the proposal as “one of Google’s creepiest patents yet”.

Privacy campaigners have also raised concerns.

A spokeswoman for Google was unable to say whether this was a product the firm might develop and sell.
“We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with,” she said.

“Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don’t.

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The New Googleplex: A Titanic Human Terrarium

“The next Googleplex goes way beyond free snacks and massages; it’s a future-proof microclimate,” writes Brad Stone for Bloomberg:

The most ambitious project unveiled by Google this year isn’t a smartphone, website, or autonomous, suborbital balloon from the Google X lab. You can’t hold it, or download it, or share it instantly with friends. In fact, the first part of it probably won’t exist for at least three years. But you can read all about it in hundreds of pages of soaring descriptions and conceptual drawings, which the company submitted in February to the local planning office of Mountain View, Calif.

Credit: BIG/Heatherwick Studio

Credit: BIG/Heatherwick Studio

 

The vision outlined in these documents, an application for a major expansion of the Googleplex, its campus, is mind-boggling. The proposed design, developed by the European architectural firms of Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio, does away with doors. It abandons thousands of years of conventional thinking about walls.

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The Persistence of the Office

Google's campus concept. (Photo: Google)

Google’s campus concept. (Photo: Google)

Susie Cagle Via Pacific Standard:

Google is growing. The company recently unveiled plans for expanded headquarters it hopes to build in Mountain View, California: a “sprawling sci-fi campus” that is “unlike anything built before it.” The structure looks aggressively inspired, bordering on nonsensical. There are glass canopies and cars that look like bananas.

In a way, though, the most exceptional thing about Google’s offices is that they exist at all. Google and other tech companies build and maintain massive campuses, while other companies are expanding their telework ranks—and using the products of tech companies to do it.

The industry that makes it possible for other companies to employ teleworkers is putting massive resources into developing and maintaining its own office culture.

Telework is growing every year. It’s what many predicted as the work of the future—nimble and flexible production unconstrained by time or place.

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Study: Internet Searches Causing Us to Think We’re Smarter Than We Really Are

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Andrew Moran via Career Addict:

The next time you perform a web search on Google or Yahoo be sure to remember that you’re not actually as smart as you think you are. Internet searches are convincing us that we’re smarter than we are, says a new study by Yale University psychologists.

According to the latest study, surfing the Internet for various tidbits of information gives people the false impression, or “widely inaccurate view,” that they’re intelligent. The experts warn this could generate over-confidence and a false sense of self-esteem, which could then lead to the bad decisions down the line.

The Google Generation

Researchers came to this conclusion when they performed a series of experiments on study participants. More than 1,000 students had taken part in the research study. In one test, an Internet group had been provided with a link to a website that explains “how does a zip work?” and the other group was given a print-out sheet with the same information.

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Google Puts Online 10,000 Works of Street Art from Across the Globe

Circling Birdies by Cheko, Granada Spain

Circling Birdies by Cheko, Granada Spain

Ayun Halliday via Open Culture:

Since last we wrote, Google Street Art has doubled its online archive by adding some 5,000 images, bringing the tally to 10,000, with coordinates pinpointing exact locations on all five continents (though as of this writing, things are a bit thin on the ground in Africa). Given the temporal realities of outdoor, guerrilla art, pilgrims may arrive to find a blank canvas where graffiti once flourished. (RIP New York City’s 5 Pointz, the “Institute of Higher Burning.”)

A major aim of the project is virtual preservation. As with performance art, documentation is key. Not all of the work can be attributed, but click on an image to see what is known. Guided tours to neighborhoods rich with street art allow armchair travelers to experience the work, and interviews with the artists dispel any number of stereotypes.

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