The heart of tech

This article was published on March 20, 2016


IBM Watson can guess what’s in your photos with scary accuracy

IBM Watson can guess what’s in your photos with scary accuracy
Owen Williams
Story by

Owen Williams

Former TNW employee

Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.

IBM announced that its Watson AI is getting image recognition capabilities earlier in the year, but this site that lets you feed in your own photos to see what it thinks is in them is both impressive and scary.

The visual recognition demo lets you give Watson an image URL or upload a photo and it’ll come back in a few seconds with what it thinks it sees.

In my tests I fed Watson a few random photos I had on hand and the accuracy was quite surprising. It could figure out what was in landscape shots, animals (down to the breed) and even what’s in the background.

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 10.50.34 AM

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 10.52.17 AM

You’re also able to train Watson by uploading photos in bulk and classifying them, so it can learn what a certain classification is. You’ll need to upload more than 50 photos so it can reliably learn, but from there it’s able to get better over time.

The technical demonstration is available as an open source project so you can clone it and run on your own machine, or deploy it in the cloud to mess with yourself.

How well did Watson recognize your images? Let us know in the comments!

Watson image recognition

Also tagged with