Google’s New AI Game Can Guess Your Drawings
I wasn’t old enough to remember the first Terminator film when it came out in theaters, but I sure do remember T2, and boy did it have an effect on me. I was sure that someday I’d see a time when cyborgs and robots would walk among us, and eventually they’d figure out that they didn’t need us anymore, just like Ultron did in that one Avengers flick. And now, it’s all coming to fruition, and it begins with Google and their Quick, Draw! game.
The premise is simple: draw a set of images that the game prompts, each in under 20 seconds, and the AI tries to guess what it is:
Before the robot revolution, we need to master artificial intelligence, or A.I. as we in the nerd community call it. The Quick, Draw! program is part of Google’s A.I. Experiments line (which is doing some fascinating stuff). Google gets into detail about their machine learning work in this illuminating video:
The Quick, Draw! program then, is a way to see if Google can teach a computer how to recognize drawings and doodles that humans create. If it can do that, then we’ve taught a machine something new, and that can be added to the repertoire.
Now on the one hand, A.I. can be a really good thing. There are already bots out in the world — short computer programs designed to answer simple questions — and they can be quite helpful. Siri on iPhone and macOS is an example of this: a virtual assistant that lives in your phone. She (or he, if you’ve tweaked the settings) interprets what you say, and then responds appropriately — at least, most of the time. In one of my other endeavors, I use a bot named Kit to do some of my marketing for me, and it’s super handy.
But on the other hand, you know, robots taking over. It’s scary for a number of reasons, least of all that my own job is at risk. That’s right, robots are writing stories now, too. And as soon as they figure out how to code bitterness and snark into the system, I’m screwed.
Seriously though, when some of the brightest minds in the world express their concerns, well, you’ve got to take that as a sign. And I know I do.
For now, things are solid, and we don’t have to start busting out the tin foil helmets anytime soon. However, maybe it’s a good idea to cool it a bit on the advancements in A.I. I’m good with playing around with Quick, Draw! a bit for now, but once I start getting questions from a robot that include sarcasm, I’m going to polish up my resume.