Google's Deep Dream software was created to help the company's engineers understand artificial neural networks, but its development yielded unintended results. Computers were fed millions of mundane images — dogs, families, nature, whatever you like — as a means of learning our world's organic visual language, but the process had side effects. It turns out that machines see our lives in a completely different way. To them, we're living in a universe that's unsettling, alien, and weirdly compelling by human standards.
Once the code propelling Deep Dream was made available to the public, it became hard to go a day or two without seeing a friend or a famous movie scene distorted through the code's application. People can't resist turning familiar scenes into nightmarish, impossible terrors! The creators of Dreamify, a free new app for iOS and Android launching this month, are making it easier than ever to satisfy that impulse. Unveiled by Popular Science this afternoon, it's the first mobile app to use Deep Dream's code, and it's also the first tool to allow users to directly manipulate their image's transformation.
You can exert plenty of control over your computer-generated horrors
The app focuses on speed and customization. It runs Deep Dream's code on Amazon's servers, meaning images only need a few seconds' worth of processing time, and it offers a dozen Instagram-esque preset filters that toy with the parameters inherent to Deep Dream. Users can also fiddle with those parameters themselves if they want to exert more control over their computer-generated visual horrors. There are also a few social features built into the app: photos can be kept private or auto-uploaded to a gallery, where they have a chance to be seen and up-voted by other users.
Dreamify doesn't have an exact release date yet, but its creators told Popular Science that the app will be "ready for mass consumption within a week." I'm sure its launch won't be hard to miss — if you thought you were getting bombarded with hallucinogenic-gone-wrong hellscapes before, I recommend you batten down the hatches.