Do computers dream of electric cats?

One thing I love is when computers try to think.

I don’t want to see an I-Robot style future where machine is made in man’s image. Though I definitely think there need to be laws to robotics, I think the term robot – which, as The World’s End often points out, means slave – is a fine term to describe what the ever evolving world of helpful machines should be.

My favourite movie Blade Runner as well as so many other forms of media like the insanely good HBO series Westworld and the videogame Fallout 4 show a snapshot of what occurs when we make androids which walk, act and think like real people but are invariably made to live out a “life” of servitude.

As much as I love these stories, giving machines the capacity to think and potentially be intelligent seems, amongst many things, cruel. We make them specifically to serve and yet we risk giving them the ability to say “no”.

I’m not writing this to condemn or discuss the insanely complex topic of morality in regards to artificial intelligence. I think robots should be robots and think as robots do, not emulate people.

What I am highlighting is that the topic is really interesting.

As such I am drawn to – and would like to draw your attention also – to things like Google’s artificial neural network, which produces strange, dreamlike images like this:


This is the result of, to put it in terms that I understand, a computer network dreaming.

Or something.

It’s wonderful and weird and it’s how a machine thinks.

Or something.

To this end, I would like to bring your attention to Edges2cats.

Amongst other things, you can draw a simple picture of a cat and watch as a machine tries to understand what you’ve made and recreate is as a cat. The results, though questionable, are highly entertaining:


So please do give it a try!


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