We’ve all done it at least once: you’re in front of your delicious lunch and you can’t help but take your smartphone out, snap a picture and let Instagram have it.
Google has taught us it is always aware of our needs – even before we know them – so it will offer a new tool that people can use to keep their weight in check. According to some reports, the company has a new artificial intelligence project in the making, hoping to tell you how many calories you ate based on your Instagram food pictures.
The tool, dubbed as Im2Calories, was revealed at the end of May at the Rework Deep Learning Summit. Google researcher Kevin Murphy presented one of the most recent projects which uses “sophisticated deep learning algorithms” in order to inspect a food picture and estimate the number of calories on the plate.
Murphy offered the audience a demo in which the tool checked an image and identified two pancakes, two eggs and three strips of bacon. Despite the fact that none of the illustrated foods are universal units of measurement, the system was able to use the plate’s size to measure how big the foods were.
Murphy is aware that the future AI will have some trouble at first in getting the calorie content right, but because it is based on a “deep learning” algorithm – which improves and learns based on experience – but the more people will start using it and share the results, the better it will get.
The software is designed to receive corrections from users; for example, you can correct it if it misidentifies fried eggs with poached eggs. Each time a result is edited the AI’s database expands and becomes better at estimating.
Murphy emphasized that the new tool is not a shaming service; its sole purpose is to help people keep a food diary, which they can opt to share with friends or co-workers. A system that feeds its results only based on photos will be much easier to use rather than having to manually enter information into a food app.
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