Alright, calm down, I’m going to explain this photo. It’s just going to take a minute.
Google’s DeepDream is an AI project to help enable machine recognition of objects in digital photos. Servers are fed, for example, a massive database of dog images—different breeds, different angles, different lighting conditions—in the hopes that the software will eventually be able to identify a dog in any photo.
The fun starts when you tell DeepDream to identify dogs in a photo where there are clearly no dogs, like the image of my cat that you see here.
Here’s a better, more technical explanation from the SciShow on YouTube:
There’s an entire subreddit devoted to images run through DeepDream. Though the software is open source there’s a lot of horsepower (and skill) required to achieve a properly-bizarre result.
Enter Dreamify, a mobile app that will do the heavy lifting for you. An email sign-up is required after installing it, only because you’ll need to offload your photos to external servers for processing. And once you’ve selected one of the available presets that processing will usually only take seconds, after which you’ll have a dreamified masterpiece ready to share wherever, including the app’s public gallery.
I’ll admit that I’ve a bit of an obsession with DeepDream—partly because I’m fascinated by these first, clumsy steps towards true AI, but also because I’m imagining a hilarious post-apocalyptic future where Terminator-style robots scour the earth for photos of dogs to ingest. Now that would be a James Cameron movie I’d gladly pay to see… 😉