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Psychedelic Toasters Fool Image Recognition Tech


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When is a toaster not a toaster?

Google researchers have created stickers that can fool image-recognition software into seeing objects that do not exist.

Credit: Getty Images

Researchers at Google say they have created psychedelic stickers that can fool image-recognition software into seeing objects that do not exist.

In an example, the team produced colorful computer-generated patterns by sampling hundreds of photographs of a toaster; when the patterns were put next to another item--a banana--many neural networks saw the toaster instead.

The team says this method could be used to "attack" image-recognition systems, as these patches can be printed, added to a scene, photographed, and presented to image classifiers.

Even if the patches are small, they cause the classifiers to ignore other items in the scene and report a chosen target class. The researchers note this works because the computer-generated pattern is more "salient" to image-recognition software than real objects.

The team found the pattern consistently tricked software when it comprised at least 10 percent of a scene, while a photo of a real object was less likely to distract the software from another object.

From BBC News
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