Many think that the advent of artificial intelligence will make computers powerful enough to rule over us and make us slaves to their algorithmic whim. But now, hot on the heels of Microsoft's AI that had a (pretty random) stab at working out your age, Google has unveiled Im2Calories, which can look at your Instagram food pics and advise you that six sausages is more than you should be eating in one sitting.
Yep, Google's new artificial intelligence project can calculate the number of calories of any meal you take a picture of. According to Google researcher Kevin Murphy, Im2Calories will study the depth of pixels in an image and use “sophisticated, deep-learning algorithm” to work out what the food is and how many calories it has in total.
This deep learning tool is supposed to get better the more you use it. In other words, if it gets it wrong, you can correct it, and this improves the tool in future.
Murphy told Popular Science that “it’s obvious that people really want this and this is really useful. OK fine, maybe we get the calories off by 20 per cent. It doesn’t matter. We’re going to average over a week or a month or a year.”
The tool is a product of Google’s acquisition of a London-based firm Deepmind, which it bought in 2014. Google has filed a patent for Im2Calories and there is no news as to when the service would be made available to the public through an app. Remember: pictures of food have no calories, it’s just eating the food that is the problem.