Google’s X Lab designed a particular neural network to discern whether an algorithm could learn to recognize faces without being fed information on exactly what a face was. It did great at that task.
It also found cat videos quite well:
The “brain” simulation was exposed to 10 million randomly selected YouTube video thumbnails over the course of three days and, after being presented with a list of 20,000 different items, it began to recognize pictures of cats using a “deep learning” algorithm. This was despite being fed no information on distinguishing features that might help identify one.
On the surface, it’s a joke about the impending cat video singularity. But it’s a pretty awesome example of machine learning, too. It means that with careful programming, a synthetic network can learn fairly advanced patterns in completely novel data, like cat faces, or what a cat even IS.
Alan Turing’s 100th Birthday
Google celebrates the legendary father of computer science, codebreaker, and tragic victim of sexual intolerance with today’s interactive doodle.
Can’t quite figure out how to play with the Google Turing machine? This video has some hints.
How much smarter would our tech be now if Turing had been celebrating his marriage at 41, instead of harassed into suicide as a gay man?
Today’s Google doodle celebrates what would have been the 78th birthday of Bob Moog, the father of electronic music. His Moog synthesizer grew out of his theramin manufacturing company (who would have thought those wouldn’t take off?) and changed music forever. Yes, without Moog, there would be no Skrillex. Shocking.
He started from a background in hard science, holding two bachelor’s degrees and a PhD in engineering physics. But he was able to apply his knowledge to his creativity, building tools for musicians worldwide to draw inspiration from. He took simple relationships of voltage and frequency (and the invention of a little thing called the transistor) and painted entirely new landscapes of sound.
You can play the Moog Google synth (hint: use your keyboard), and even record a four-track song! I hope you didn’t want to get anything done today.
Little known fact: Moog said his name was pronounced “moh-g”, not “moo-g”. I’m sure that correction will stick with everyone.
Today’s Google Doodle Celebrates Discoverer of King Tut: Howard Carter
“Can you see anything?”
“Yes, wonderful things.”
That was the exchange between Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter as Carter breached the tomb door for the first time. The discovery of King Tut’s tomb has given scholars and explorers a century of inspiration, and a window into the past.
You may have heard of the “Mummy’s Curse”, the supposed early deaths of many of Howard’s team after entering Tut’s tomb. Don’t worry, science is all over that, debunking the suspicion and burying that rumor deep in the ground.
Bonus: Here’s a replay of a live chat Science magazine did with two mummy experts about the nitty gritty of being a mummy researcher.
Google Begins Testing Augmented Reality Glasses
Google has started testing their super-secret augmented reality glasses, something they are calling Project Glass. These Star Trek-looking prototypes (below) are going to be out in public, being put through some initial paces.
Phone calls, contextual information like weather and transportation routes, capturing photos, calendar management, even video chat. It looks like a pretty cool view of the future. Obviously, the features outlined in the video probably aren’t written into the prototypes yet, but they give a great idea of what Google has planned for Project Glass. Someone should ask that guy’s friend why he doesn’t have a pair, though. Is it because the narrator looked like a weirdo walking around with shifty eyes, talking to himself?
Google also announced the project this morning on Google+, and you can go check it out. That strikes me as a very good way to ensure that almost no one hears about it.