Here’s Google Artificial Imagination applied to a popular movie scene, as if “Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas” isn’t trippy enough.
Just a quick experiment visualizing the HeatStroke tune:
I rendered the hi hat, snare, bass drum and sequencer tracks to separate audio files. Then modeled a drum kit in 3ds Max, applied a FumeFX modifier to each part. Then I used each audio track to determine the amount of fuel the component has. Simulated in relatively low detail due to time constraints, but the idea seems to work.
Google has modified its image recognition neural net with a feedback loop.. and it now “dreams up” images of its own, even from nothing…
But if the neural network is tasked with finding a more complex feature – such as animals – in an image, it ends up generating a much more disturbing hallucination:
Ultimately, the software can even run on an image which is nothing more than random noise, generating features that are entirely of its own imagination.
“One way to visualise what goes on is to turn the network upside down and ask it to enhance an input image in such a way as to elicit a particular interpretation,” they add. “Say you want to know what sort of image would result in ‘banana’. Start with an image full of random noise, then gradually tweak the image towards what the neural net considers a banana.”
The image recognition software has already made it into consumer products. Google’s new photo service, Google Photos, features the option to search images with text: entering “dog”, for instance, will pull out every image Google can find which has a dog in it (and occasionally images with other quadrupedal mammals, as well).
So there you have it: Androids don’t just dream of electric sheep; they also dream of mesmerising, multicoloured landscapes.
Intel unveils button-sized Curie module to power future wearables
Intel has today unveiled Curie, a low-powered module no bigger than a button, as part of its vision to lead in the wearables field. Company CEO Brian Krzanich announced the module, which will be built on a tiny new chip called the Quark SE, during his keynote at CES in Las Vegas — a year on from announcing the Intel Edison platform.
The module incorporates the low-power 32-bit Quark microcontroller, 384kB of flash memory, motion sensors, Bluetooth LE and battery-charging capabilities in order to power the very smallest of devices. Intel is hoping Curie will prove the flexible solution designers need to create wearables such as rings, pendants, bracelets, bags, fitness trackers and even buttons. It has been created with always-on applications in mind, so will be suitable for devices that relay notifications or constantly track a wearer’s activity.
Intel started down this road with its stamp-sized 22nm Edison SoC and the Curie module shrinks it down even further. The module uses Bluetooth LE and has a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope to track movements and recognize gestures. It can run either off a rechargeable battery or a more traditional coin-like watch battery, though Intel doesn’t say for exactly how long. Curie basically turns just about anything into a gadget that’s at least as smart as your average fitness tracker. Rings, buttons, glasses, watches, whathave you.
Microsoft, the famous multinational corporation that powers much of the world’s computing infrastructure with its Windows OS, now accepts Bitcoin online for its digital products. Microsoft users, in America only for now, can even fund their Microsoft/Windows Live or XBox Live accounts using Bitcoin, at the current exchange rate. Once Microsoft’s Bitcoin acceptance is at 100%, businesses and end users alike can pay for services such as Azure or even Windows Phone apps.
Once Microsoft starts accepting Bitcoin worldwide, the frictionless transactions will truly begin to flow. With $86.63 b in annual revenue and $172.38 b in total assets, Microsoft is the new largest company in the world to accept Bitcoin. Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates has previously admitted that “Bitcoin Technology is key.”
Microsoft has started to accept Bitcoin payments, allowing customers to buy apps, games and videos from online stores with the crypto-currency.
The new feature, which was quietly added to its website last night, has been enabled by a partnership with payment processing startup BitPay.
Customers can now use Bitcoin to add money to their Microsoft account, but not use it to pay for goods directly. Once you add money to your Microsoft account you can use it to buy apps, games and other digital content from the Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox Games, Xbox Music and Xbox Video stores.
“Most Bitcoin transactions should process immediately. If it doesn’t, please wait up to two hours for the transaction to complete before contacting support,” says a support page on Bitcoin on Microsoft’s website. “Money added to your Microsoft account using Bitcoin cannot be refunded, so make sure to review your transaction before paying with your digital wallet.”
Currently the feature is limited to the US, and those customers here in the UK are not able to add funds to their account with a Bitcoin payment.