Astronomers explore uses for AI-generated images

Left: Figure: S. Ravanbakhsh/data: arxiv.org/abs/1609.05796; Right: Nguyen et al./arxiv.org/abs/1612.00005 AI-generated images of galaxies (left, lower of each pair) and volcanoes. Volcanoes, monasteries, birds, thistles: the varied images in Jeff Clune’s research paper could be his holiday snaps. In fact, the pictures are synthetic. They are generated by deep-learning neural networks: layers of computational units that mimic how neurons are connected in the brain. In recent years, neural networks have made huge strides in learning to recognize and interpret information in pictures, videos and speech. But now, computer scientists such as Clune are turning those artificial-intelligence (AI) systems on their heads to create ‘generative’ networks that churn out their own realistic-seeming information. “I have reached a point in my life where I’m kind of having reality vertigo,” says Clune, who works…


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