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| Beyond Photoshop: inceptionism and dynamic image processing

“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.” »MORE: Google Research Blog & SingularityHub via Mark Petrakis


Pure creative thinking implies free open-ended associations. I do so most easily in alpha state, before or after sleep. It is a form of semi controlled day dreamings reminiscent of M. C. Escher, Baudelaire, mandala, maze, stained glass, abstract patterns or Google image search environments.
Google is building a mastery of “image” through an artificial neural network informed by vast image classification  and deep learning algorithms. AI is there quickly acquiring image recognition skills, increasingly doing so better than human: faster and with a greater memory to reference.
With an initiative called “inceptionism”, a challenge was thrown at the artificial neural network to generate images starting with random noise. Applying the algorithm iteratively the software activity could range between cues and free association—running through feedback loops until pictorial associations were made or eliminated. E. g. when do we start to see a “dog” in a “cloud” formation?
In this so-called “creative” exercise, software once again performs possibly better than humans since it can quickly build images that combine complex representations, patterns and abstractions.
It is then merely up to us human viewers to select the ones we find “expressive”, “dazzling”, “artistic”, “beautiful”, “surpirsing”, “innovative” or whatever candy our minds are seeking at the moment. We become curators, judges and consumers by a stimuli of creativity that is fact is initiated by an algorithm.
Technology can surprise us through superior “creative processes”,  but cyber creativity will remain an oxymoron even if the notion becomes pervasive.
Regardless, the techno-combinations dreamt up by Google, Adobe, Kai’s Power Tools  and others in this past two decades have become part of our creative process. As visual designers, we use Photoshop and image search on a daily bases. In that sense, automation has crept into our own human creative process.
Humans and “image” are irreversibly both being processed, for better or worse depending on our POV. What is most amazing with “inceptionism” is the rising power of image recognition.
»Inceptionism gallery

Sat, June 20 2015 » technology, the new image