Deep Dream: Viewing Images Through Artificial Intelligence Eyes

We explain what all the Deep Dream hype is about and share with you how you can easily create your own Deep Dream image.

Have you ever wondered how Google sorts and categorizes images? Well, last month, Google answered that question, and shared with the world the artificial intelligence program they use to interpret and decipher images by looking for specific patterns.

To make things even more interesting, Google have released the source code for the world to learn from and experiment with, under the name Deep Dream, prompting a wave of creativity on the web.

We unpack the hype and explain how you can easily create your own Deep Dream image.

What is Deep Dream?

Google has its own Artificial Neural Network (ANN) that is used to decode and process the millions of images that are indexed by its Google Image service. Google’s developers have trained this artificial intelligence to recognize certain objects by repeatedly showing it images of the same object.

For example, considering the fact that the internet really loves cats, after seeing some images of cats, ANN can recognize that “cat” is a given shape with its own characteristics.

The developers have realized that ANN can also be used to draw the images of the shapes that it recognizes, albeit in a slightly over-interpreted – bordering on the creepy – manner.

Google, therefore, decided to go public with this feature and encourage users to try it out for themselves.

To quote the Google Research team:

We have decided to open source the code we used to generate these images in an iPython notebook, so now you can made neural network inspired images yourself!

How does Deep Dream work?

Deep Dream works by interpreting images as a sequence of shapes — as such, it focuses on benign aspects of the given picture as well, and attempts to recognize those otherwise benign components as a possible shape too.

Deep Dream transforms every single image that is thrown at it into some form of psychedelic dream. Yes, you really can use Deep Dream to transform your vacation photos into a scene from a science fiction story!

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Examples of Deep Dream in action

Many photos have already been shared on the web using Deep Dream, such as these:

Of course, it’s not just developers that are having a great time playing with this tool. Artists, designers, and even fantasy enthusiasts have given it a shot and come up with their own version of surreal images.

Want to give it a spin?

Would you like to try Deep Dream yourself? Psychic VR Lab have set up a simple tool that will let you play around with it. (Note, there are some NSFW images featured!)

A similar option is being offered by Zain Shah as well.

If however, you’re looking for the source code, head over to GitHub, and download the code directly!

So what do you think of Deep Dream? Another step forward towards better understanding of artificial intelligence? Or just creepy?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

If you create some Deep Dream images make sure you share them on social media with the hashtag #deepdream