Re: Google Neural Networks Make Captivating, Surreal Art
This is very cool. For anyone who's still a little hazy on the specifics, like I was, I'd definitely recommend checking out the full Google blog. It goes into greater detail on what they mean by a 'layered process' (earlier layers recognize corners, or edges of things, and get more detailed from there), and shows some more examples where the researchers input photographs of real-world objects and the network produced a completely different result - one neural network 'trained' on mostly images of animals produced pictures of weird spliced-together animals against what was originally a blank skyline. They still don't really go into how the network or algorithms were designed, what they mean by 'parameters', etc., as I was expecting. It's almost more of a fluff piece, which is just as nice.
The bloggers say the neural nets may "...perhaps even shed a little light on the roots of the creative process in general" Actually, this reminds me of an exercise that some artists use to help them loosen up; you draw a line (or a couple of lines) on a page without thinking. Once they're in place, you can't change them - you have to build the rest of your image around them; so, if the line looks kind of like a big, goofy nose, you draw a clown. It's also supposed to help artists not overedit their work (you accept the permanency of the line), and it got me thinking about how Google's Neural Networks may relate to our own mental processes. It, too, must accept what it's handed by the previous layer - it can't see the original image. As in the picture posted near the bottom with the arches, the software seems to latch on to certain recurring shapes, and draw what it thinks their end result should be.