Artificial intelligence has improved the world in so many ways. But the fledgling technology has its limitations and sometimes, they’re hilarious.
Recently, AI expert Janelle Shane plugged the infamous Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren Crait duel from “The Last Jedi” into two algorithms called DeepLab and SPADE. The AI duo delivered some pretty comical results, as Futurism reports.
Shane is perhaps most famous for using AI to come up with odd heart candy slogans and cute kitty names like “Peanutbutterjiggles.” But she’s also a research scientist who focuses on optics. As she details in her blog, Shane started her “Star Wars” pop culture experiment by using Runway ML’s chaining feature to link up the two algorithms.
DeepLab is a neural network that (sort of) identifies and outlines objects in an image. It’s known as a segmentation algorithm. In a frame featuring Luke brandishing his lightsaber, DeepLab correctly identified Luke as a person. But the neural network doesn’t know what a lightsaber is and just went with a baseball bat. That’s understandable.
Shane then applied NVIDIA’s SPADE, another neural network that converts block drawings like the ones DeepLab makes into (somewhat) photorealistic scenes. SPADE, bless its heart, tried to recreate the Luke lightsaber frame with the missing details.
It’s not SPADE’s fault that DeepLab doesn’t know what a lightsaber is. But the choice of an aluminum bat is a bit odd considering major leaguers use wooden bats. Perhaps there’s more data out there of little league and college ball. Anyway, using the data it had, SPADE then did the right thing in trying to paint Luke’s figure wearing something that loosely resembles a baseball cap and jersey.
Unfortunately Luke looks more like Sloth from “The Goonies” than the bearded recluse in “The Last Jedi.” And that’s just one frame. Shane used the neural networks to recreate the lightsaber battle frame for frame.
You can check it out above. However, Shane notes that there is a lot of flashing. So, viewers who are sensitive to those types of things should be careful.
While it’s pretty bizarre, in some flashes of frames, the AI duo seems to come close to at least getting some things right (the real sequence plays in the corner for comparison).
But that’s not what makes the video comical. It’s the mistakes that tickle the funny bone. Shane highlighted some of her favorite foibles in her blog.
First, Crait is a salt planet. But DeepLab wasn’t quite sure what Ren and Skywalker are fighting on. Sometimes the algorithm goes with sand and sometimes it goes with water. Hence, SPADE plugs in a surfboard.
Furthermore, at times, DeepLab thinks the salt is snow. As such, SPADE comically dresses up the combatants in snowsuits. However, completely out of left field, DeepLab perceives Ren as a fire hydrant, and SPADE does its best to comply.
Shane’s intriguing videos provide nerdy entertainment, but they’re also informative. One of the more interesting aspects of her AI pop culture experiment is that it serves to humanize artificial intelligence.
One can’t help but feel for the poor little neural networks as they struggle to learn like adorable, innocent children. Biologists have claimed that cuteness in baby animals is what helps endear them to their parents. Perhaps the same thing is happening here with humanity and its AI offspring.