Available for iOS, AI Scry is a new app that generates automatic descriptions of whatever appears in front of your phone’s camera.
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Created by Oakland-based art/technology studio Disc Cactus (or 💾🌵 as it’s stylized), the app aims to showcase the merits and weaknesses of machine learning technologies in a fun and entertaining manner.
One of the developers who worked on the project, Sam Kronik, says that to give your phone a mind of its own it uses the open-sourced neural network Neural Talk introduced by Stanford scientist Andrej Karpathy.
While AI Scry will occasionally put the right label on the objects it ‘sees’, the app is still at a stage where it is more amusing than it is accurate. Yet – despite all of its shortcomings – the app successfully demonstrates the possibilities of machine learning without being “too robotic.”
“When you set [artificial intelligence] free and unconstrained in the world (as with AI Scry), it’s plain to see that it has a ‘mind’ of its own,” Kronik told the The Verge. “[It’s] complete with weird quirks and idiosyncrasies that can be traced back to the chain of humans who designed, programmed, and trained the system.”
At present AI Scry offers a very limited functionality, but once the technology advances such apps could prove particularly useful to individuals struggling with visual impairment, giving them a new way of interacting with the world.