Last week, Google released its psychedelic DeepDream program to mass public fascination and acclaim. Using computer systems called “neural networks” that are modeled on the human brain, researchers created code that allows the primordial artificial intelligence of these cybernetic networks to transform photographs into psychedelic dreamscapes. Here’s how the image recognition and alteration works:
We train an artificial neural network by showing it millions of training examples and gradually adjusting the network parameters until it gives the classifications we want. The network typically consists of 10-30 stacked layers of artificial neurons. Each image is fed into the input layer, which then talks to the next layer, until eventually the “output” layer is reached. The network’s “answer” comes from this final output layer.
Ok, I don’t understand any of that, but the point is, there is now open-source software you can use to turn your photos into surreal android dreams. Naturally, people immediately fed this exotic algorithm porn, and while the results are not sexy, they are pretty captivating.
Technically all the naughty bits in these examples are obscured by horrifying animal heads and delirium-inducing swirls and whatnot, but I’m not going so far as to say this fever dream is “safe for work.” Psychedelic nightmare porn is still porn. I think.