The emoji is, like it or not, part of our visual vernacular — to the point where Sony is making a movie starring the infuriating little icons. And Google, hoping to get you to use their chat app, has brought enormous technological prowess to the task of turning your face into a set of stickers.
The process itself is simple. Download Google Allo, follow Google’s handy instructions, and within a minute there will be a full suite of personalized emoji for you to share with the two or three friends who use Allo. The results? Here’s the hideous visage of yours truly compared to the new icons.
OK, so it’s hardly a Michaelangelo, but believe it or not, something this goofy takes a truly insane amount of work. The function is essentially Google testing out its artificial intelligence’s skill at reading what it calls the context of an image. Instead of translating the image pixel for pixel or teaching the computer the millions of different ways an image can be different, Google used its neural networks and artists to teach its system to learn what people look like, at least in an abstract sense, on the fly. In other words, enormous mathematical genius and computing power has been summoned to turn your face into an artist’s rendering of a zombie. The future is amazing.
(Via Google Research Blog)