Tag: Google

Real Cats vs AI-Generated Cats II: Which Kitties Were Real?

After a few days of patiently waiting, we finally have a winner in our unofficial contest from earlier this week.

Reader Romulo Pietrangeli got it right: None of the cats pictured in our April 13 post are real felines.

All nine images were created by the machine learning algorithm that powers the site This Cat Does Not Exist, a riff on the original This Person Does Not Exist, a site that uses generative adversarial networks (GANS) to create stunningly realistic images of people on the fly.

(Above: All six images above are computer-generated using the same technology behind ThisCatDoesNotExist.)

Phillip Wang, the 33-year-old software engineer behind both sites (and a few others using the same tech and concept), explained to Inverse in an earlier interview why he created ThisPersonDoesNotExist.

“I’m basically at the point in my life where I’m going to concede that super-intelligence will be real and I need to devote my remaining life to [it],” Wang said. “The reaction speaks to how much people are in the dark about A.I. and its potential.”

Because the internet is ruled by cats, it was only a matter of time before a feline-generating version of the human-creating algorithm was brought online.

(Above: More artificially-generated cats. Artefacts in the images can sometimes give away the fact that they’re fake, such as the third image in the second row, where part of the cat’s fur is transparent.)

A CNN article from 2019 explains how GAN technology works:

In order to generate such images, StyleGAN makes use of a machine-learning method known as a GAN, or generative adversarial network. GANs consist of two neural networks — which are algorithms modeled on the neurons in a brain — facing off against each other to produce real-looking images of everything from human faces to impressionist paintings. One of the neural networks generates images (of, say, a woman’s face), while the other tries to determine whether that image is a fake or a real face.

Wang, who said his software “dreams up a new face every two seconds,” told CNN he hoped his creations would spark conversation and get people to think critically about what they see in front of them. It looks like he’s achieved his goal.

Christopher Schmidt, a Google engineer who used the same technology to create fake home and rental interiors, agreed.

“Maybe we should all just think an extra couple of seconds before assuming something is real,” Schmidt told CNN.

Pietrangeli, for his part, says he can tell the difference: “All of the animal images,” he wrote, “lacked ‘aura.'”

Dear Buddy: Should Cats Be Concerned About Coronavirus?

Dear Buddy,

My humans have been stressed out lately, rubbing every surface with weird-smelling wipes and going on incessantly about something called the Coronavirus. I’m starting to get a little worried now. What is the Coronavirus, and do we cats have to worry about a disease that infects lesser animals like humans?

– Unsure In Utah


Dear Unsure,

I’d never heard of that there Coronavirus, so I did a little research. It turns out that my Big Buddy has six (!) Coronas in the refrigerator and is either unaware they carry viruses or doesn’t care.

Actually there may be more than six. I got kinda distracted when I found the cheese and helped myself to some Gouda.

So I went on the Internet, because everyone knows only true things are allowed on the Internet, and I found this:

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Makers of Corona report £132,000,000 loss as a result of coronavirus

Also, the search term “Corona beer virus” is trending, so there are people who are smart like me who have also made the connection:

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Searches for “Corona beer virus” and “Coronavirus beer” have spiked sharply over the past month, Google Trends shows.

I also looked at the most trustworthy source, Wikipedia, and it says Corona is a beer made in Mexico.

I’m not exactly sure whether Mexico is a city or a province of China, but I heard some humans saying Corona Virus originated in China, so I can tell you for sure that Corona Virus started with Mexican Chinese people drinking Corona.

So it is my informed and professional opinion that we felines are safe from Coronavirus as long as we do not drink Corona, and as long as our humans don’t put Corona beer in our water bowls.

Your friend,

Doctor Buddy, MD

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