For those who aren’t yet familiar, here’s a brief description of Google’s Deep Dreams program, which has been running rampant throughout the internet in the last week or so, as put by one of our staff members: “It’s scary shit. The company’s A.I. neural networks are learning to interpret images and, in doing so, there’s this weird glitch where they turn them into psychedelic nightmares.”

Actually, better to just show you. Here’s a map courtesy of Google, mapping how their neural networks sometimes misinterpret images…

deepdream1The Google robots are learning to analyze images and videos in order to recognize shapes in them that they’ve been trained to recognize. But, like humans, these corporate-spawned digi-brains have errors in perception. Here’s how Google’s own researchers laid it down:

“If a cloud looks a little bit like a bird, the network will make it look more like a bird. This in turn will make the network recognize the bird even more strongly on the next pass and so forth, until a highly detailed bird appears, seemingly out of nowhere.”

This is not unlike what the human brain does after a hefty dab of concentrated THC. Perception focuses in on one detail of a given image or song or idea – then broadens it, sharpens it, and warps it until we get a brand spanking new perception of that image or song or idea.

While the deep dream is only in it’s infancy (Google only made the deep dreams public last month and made the algorithm for users to create inceptionist images last week), it’s already pretty prolific. The greatest hits of the new art medium are arguably “Dogs Did 9/11” from Twitter user Matej Schneider…

deepdream2… this Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas clip fed through the algorithm and posted by YouTube user Roelof Pieters. Sober, it makes you feel fucked up. Dabbed out, it is frightening…

… and this bit of deep dream porn posted by Reddit user Koufun

150707 deep porn


Like dabbing, deep dream is just a little baby in the grand scheme of things: already impressive, but nowhere near their its full potential. They are absolutely positutely going to be doing some great things together in the years to come.

Parker Winship