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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

When artificial intelligence makes a picture worth way more than a thousand words

"The first thing that you might think when you see visual images produced by WordsEye is that you are viewing the work of an extremely talented and creative artist. Pictures of a dinosaur standing next to a chocolate cake, shiny gray spaceships on the lunar surface and rainbow-colored African safari animals are easily worth 1,000 words." according to Dominic Basulto, futurist and blogger based in New York City.

Photo: WordsEye
However, these images were not created by a human, they were created by a machine. WordsEye is a new Web app that translates a few lines of user text about a scene into an artistic image using artificial intelligence.

For example, a user might type in, “The canyon is tall. An enormous chocolate cake is three feet to the left of the dinosaur.” That would trigger the app to, first, understand the words “chocolate cake,” “dinosaur” and “canyon” from its library of concepts and then come up with an artistic representation of how these three concepts might fit together within a single scene.

In November, WordsEye released a one-minute YouTube video showcasing some of the original creations that have been made in just the first month of private beta testing. And, on the WordsEye Web site, there’s a gallery of images that users have created with the app and that are being shared across social networks.

WordsEye: 1st Month of Beta

Getting from word to image is actually harder than it sounds, since it relies on a specific branch of artificial intelligence known as natural language processing. In order to go from “text to scene” and “type a picture,” you first have to be able to extract meaning from the words, and then use a combination of mathematics, probability and statistics to determine the relationships between these words. Then, you have to be able to pull up the right images that match these words and apply a few artistic filters to transform them into gorgeous pieces of art.

Thus far, WordsEye is still in private beta, but early plans are for it to become a type of social network, possibly along the lines of an Instagram, which also got its start as a place for people to share artistic images and then have people respond to these images with comments and likes. WordsEye refers to itself as “a new social network for creative expression and visual banter. There are also plans to release an Android and iOS app, which would open up WordsEye to mobile users.
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Source: Washington Post and WordsEye Inc Channel (YouTube)

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