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This Google A.I. Can Guess a Photo's Location Better Than Humans Can

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There are lots of ways to figure out where a photo was taken. From architecture to wildlife to clothing styles, we've been conditioned to recognize certain clues that might indicate the location of a scene. Now Google has developed a new A.I. system that can outperform humans in this area using only the visual information in a picture.

According to MIT Technology Review, the new neural network, dubbed PlaNet, was fed 2.3 million images from Flickr to test its capabilities. By looking at the pixels in each image, the system was able to determine the picture's country of origin 28.4 percent of the time and the continent with a success rate of 48 percent. 

Instead of using GPS data, the software bases its guesses off a vast database of geotagged images collected from the Internet. It's even able to discern the location of images with no obvious clues, like those taken of objects indoors, by comparing them to other photos in the same album.  

The team behind the project says this database gives PlaNet a leg up over its human competitors, because it has seen and gathered data from more places on Earth than one person could ever possibly visit. This idea was supported when the program went head-to-head against 10 well-traveled individuals to see who could recognize the most locations. The A.I. beat out the human team in 28 of the 50 rounds. If you want see how your location recognition abilities stack up against PlaNet, you can play the Geoguessr game online. 

This new software is an exciting development in Google's artificial intelligence technology, which is already able to generate automatic email responses and produce some insane-looking artwork. And what's even more impressive about PlaNet is that it works without taking up too much memory. The program requires just 337 megabytes to run, which is small enough to fit on a smartphone.

[h/t MIT Technology Review]

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Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
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Pop Culture
How to Perform the Star Wars Theme—On Calculators
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

The iconic Star Wars theme has been recreated with glass harps, theremins, and even cat meows. Now, Laughing Squid reports that the team over at YouTube channel It’s a small world have created a version that can be played on calculators.

The channel’s math-related music videos feature covers of popular songs like Luis Fonsi’s "Despacito," Ed Sheeran’s "Shape of You," and the Pirates of the Caribbean theme, all of which are performed on two or more calculators. The Star Wars theme, though, is played across five devices, positioned together into a makeshift keyboard of sorts.

The video begins with a math-musician who transcribes number combinations into notes. Then, they break into an elaborate practice chord sequence on two, and then four, calculators. Once they’re all warmed up, they begin playing the epic opening song we all know and love, which you can hear for yourself in all its electronic glory below.

[h/t Laughing Squid]

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Somnox, Kickstarter
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technology
This Cuddly Robot Is Designed to Lull You to Sleep
Somnox, Kickstarter
Somnox, Kickstarter

For people seeking all the benefits of a human sleeping companion without the human part, there’s a new Kickstarter-backed product. As Mashable reports, Somnox, the self-proclaimed “world’s first sleep robot,” is designed to give you a more comfortable, energizing night’s rest.

The bean-shaped cushion is the perfect size and shape for cuddling as you drift to sleep. Beneath its soft exterior is hardware designed to get you to deep sleep faster. Somnox rises and falls to mimic the movements of human breathing. Lay with the pillow long enough and the designers claim your breath will naturally sync to its rhythm, thus prepping your body for sleep.

Somnox can also be set to play sounds and music. Some content, like guided mediation, lullabies, and gentle heart beats, come built-in, but you can also upload audio of your own. And you don’t need to worry about shutting it off: Once you've customized its breathing and audio behaviors through the app, the device does what it's programed to do and powers down automatically.

Having a robotic sleep aide will cost you: You need to pledge about $533 to the team’s Kickstarter to reserve one. Even with the steep price tag, the campaign surpassed its funding goal.

[h/t Mashable]

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