So this is real. Seriously. A group of researchers have put together a system called PhotoSketch which allows the user to literally sketch a desired scene (see above for an example), label each part of the scene with keywords, then PhotoSketch searches the web for photos and assembles a photographic version of the sketch. Um. Wow?

If you'll recall, Skynet (the killer computer "defense" system from Terminator) became self-aware at 2:14am EDT August 29, 1997. So it's taken Skynet twelve years to learn how to draw. I think we're safe for a bit longer. But sketch while you can, people. There is no fate but what we make.

Here's a video of PhotoSketch in action:

PhotoSketch: Internet Image Montage from tao chen on Vimeo.

(Note: you can watch in HD at the Vimeo site.)

Also for what it's worth, many commenters have been insisting that this is a hoax. How could a computer possibly do such a thing? Well, the creators have released the source code binaries (Windows only, link updated), presented a paper at SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 on the technology, and even made that paper available for download.