What happens if you ask Google Images what's most similar, starting with a blank image, repeating the process 2951 times?


68 Responses to “What happens if you ask Google Images what's most similar, starting with a blank image, repeating the process 2951 times?”

  1. petz79 says:

    Wow, didn’t see the trollfaces coming!

  2. Jesseham says:

    SafeSearch: Off.

    The sections of product shots were my favorites, though the trollfaces got a chuckle.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    As you might of guessed, it found boobies inside the first minute.

  4. ronharris2 says:

    Interesting how at times it seems to get stuck on the same image, then cuts to an image that doesn’t seem to have any relation to the “stuck” one. Then another chain of associations starts.

    • DewiMorgan says:

      This is because of his algorithm: he would pick the “highest one that hadn’t been used before”. So it’s natural that it would often go into a dead end of a single image, explore the problem space of all instances of that image, then would leave that space once they had been exhausted, and not return to it, because they’d been done.

      I’m interested in what this algorithm converges on, like the “following the first link on all pages on Wikipedia eventually reaches X” app that was posted a while back, only with a vastly larger data set.

    • niktemadur says:

      It has a Pi feel to it, long stretches of repetition, suddenly wild flights into seemingly random directions, before falling into a pattern again.

  5. blueelm says:

    Wow… this is really brilliant. Says a lot about what we look at/see/create.

    • hypnosifl says:

      Yeah, maybe it’s just reading all the Robert Anton Wilson stuff lately, but one of my late-night thoughts last night was that this video is like this perfect metaphor for the way the mind is constantly making new thoughts…

  6. awjt says:

    I rescind my prior comment about recursion being boring after the first 3 rounds. :)

  7. Mujokan says:

    Evolution in the sense of “genetic drift”…

  8. Mike Norman says:

    At 0:59, Skynet becomes self-aware. At 1:04, Skynet discovers boobies. At 3:25, Skynet descends into psychosis via memetic infection.

    Humanity is safe, for now.

  9. Nathaniel says:

    I’ve often wondered if dreams work like this: the sensory, conceptual and memory-related parts of the brain free-associating in the absence of new input.  The video seems to have a very dream-like quality to me.

  10. kansas says:

    Wow. Send this up on the next Voyager. It explains everything.

  11. This means something.

    Was the #2951 chosen for a reason or just a random pick?

  12. Seth Teicher says:

    Just watched this full screen with George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue playing the background. Pace of change in the film lines up brilliantly with the accelerated, beautiful tempo of the song. Highly recommended combination!

  13. Toby says:

    Clearly this was cross-promotional viral marketing for the Chennai Super Kings and Les Paul’s Google Doodle.

    Also, it needs the music from the video where they guy takes a picture of himself for 6 years.

  14. Snig says:

    I would have expected more cats. 

  15. Jay Converse says:

    As an experiment, it’s barely begun.  The experiment is feeding X image into Y algorithm, and we have a sample of 1.  So no conclusions can be made.  He now needs to start the image feed with a line, a circle, a square, a cross, a face, a cat, add colors, invert the colors, etc., etc.

  16. terry childers says:

    all i learned form this is that “nothing” is eerily similar to “everything”.

  17. oldtaku says:

    I like the phase changes – where it’s been fixated on an image of a galaxy for several seconds then *fwoomp* okay bored of that.

  18. TaymonBeal says:

    I couldn’t help but view this as a metaphor for the evolution of the universe.

  19. Anonymous says:

    A bunch of petty photographers are probably going to whine that their work was automatically included.

    This kind of demo is a good example of why copyright should be as liberal as possible.

  20. Nick Young says:

    Its great how it starts out as a galactic opera, space depicted as a destination for all wondrous possibility.  Then, it degenerates into Hollywood and finally ending in doom and gloom of ice melt and financial collapse.  Wonderful. 

  21. ChipN says:

    Had great success myself with this (pre-2000 firewalling), starting with any random seed word, then selected next search based on speed reading first twenty hits for the subject matter I was looking for. For example, ‘space based lasers’,  if you just plug that in, you get pop, but if you start with a random seed and ‘reverse surf’, looking for any subject matter on SBL in the hits, amazingly, it would converge onto hidden lists of often ‘back doored’ defense documents. This was so successful, (again, pre-2000 firewall) that for a year or two I was able to sell search data to a defense policy firm.
    It still works, but the gigaverse to search has become so large, it takes geometrically longer to converge onto what you are ‘reverse surfing’ to find, if you don’t give up. Taken to the next level (not aiming for a specific end), it’s a great way to devine on what you want to read for the evening, instead of the standard reditt pop hit lists.

  22. digi_owl says:

    Reminds me of running a sentence thru Google translate.

  23. SomeGuyNamedMark says:

    Proof that there is a snake behind everything.

  24. LaughingLemon says:

    “My God, It’s full of stars!”

  25. Luke Williams says:

    Dina Kelberman (who is an awesome comic artist) has a similar project on Tumblr called I’m Google: http://dinakelberman.tumblr.com/.

    At least, I think it’s similar. She’s never explained exactly what she’s doing (as far as I know), but the title and content suggest that she’s using Google to direct the flow of her image chain.

  26. Klo Utley says:

    I’m pretty sure I now possess the intersect.  “Guys, I know Kung-Fu.”

  27. SedanChair says:

    I’m now convinced that the Chennai Super Kings are cricket-playing terrestrial avatars of a pan-dimensional intelligence.

  28. joe blough says:

    it seems to me that it spent quite a bit of time on the hubble deep field image. pretty cool!

  29. Mantissa128 says:

    This felt spookily like thinking to me at times. I could see this kind of thing being my subconscious as I turn my attention to different subjects.

  30. tyger11 says:

    I’m pretty sure Cory just tricked us into watching a commercial. For what, I have no idea. The Universe, maybe. tl;dr

  31. GIFtheory says:

    The last few frames gave me a fantastic idea: to create the Great Internet Misleading Correlation Generator. 

  32. Øyvind says:

    Obviously done with safe search on, or else the last half would have been all penis. At least, that’s what happens to me when I search for anything at all on google images.

  33. joe velikovsky says:

    Probably the most profound short film I’ve ever seen.

    ie – At the risk of paradolia (finding patterns, even where there are none, which is apparently what human IQ  is best at, though it’s also maybe a waste of time, LOL), – you can totally trace/witness the “Human Evolution of Consciousness” here.

    ie – Start with the cosmos, then we get: cars, guns and porn, fashion, and eventually – we become self-aware.

    (ie – When Google-Search `finds itself’ in the images here)…

    Then – there’s a laptop computer – and (er, sorry, `Matrix’ philosophy again, which combines most metaphysics into one loose idea) a strong argument exists, that the Universe/fabric of perceivable Reality is in fact all a big computer program (explains strong & weak forces, the 4 Laws of Thermodynamics, and why Maths
    has such symmetries in it, and fractals, etc). 

    Then – the stick figures from Rage Guy comix look kinda like gray aliens, which is what we may well evolve into…

    So, maybe via Google (the interwebs in general) itself, presumably once we pass `10 to the power 10′ connections (eg same amount of neural connections in the brain, and nearly same amount of connections on the net), (and also the number that represents a `paradigm shift’ for every step of evolution) we ultimately become `self-important/self-aware’ Gods ourselves, (possibly in the tophats, not sure) – and can celebrate our wisdom – that we can make and drink the `red pill’ at will (from the cup of knowledge, ie possibly the ultimate Holy Grail = sacred knowledge, whatever that means) and create
    more Universes at whim… 

    - Also since there’s finally a `red pill’ image (a mandala, which has been argued is `the shape of the Universe with opposites resolved’, ie yin/yang finally integrated) there – which also The Matrix (or maybe that African American lady who apparently maybe wrote it) riffed on (or ripped off, ie the red pill – from Total Recall, depending on your POV, lol).


    …and I would arbitrarily end the interpretation of symbolic meaning there, ie – a few seconds from the end, as i guess that’s also what the filmmaker did.
    (Stopped when he got tired, lol.) 

    Anyway, so – hats off - 

    There – in that video, you have The History of Cosmic Consciousness in 5 mins flat.  

    And – Like all Art, very possibly all completely superfluous, but certainly helps make the time passing more interesting, lol. 
    Big congrats. 


    Random Philosophizer

  34. Palomino says:

    I don’t know much about this stuff, but Google doesn’t know the image is “blank”. Maybe the guy knows the image is “black” but it’s most certainly not “blank” as in devoid, it has attributes. 

    Just ask Alan Charlton

  35. TheFool says:

    Here is the original artist’s site: http://sebastianschmieg.com/searchbyimage

  36. daaain says:

    Now we know how did they make the title sequence of Big Bang Theory :)

  37. Bart S. says:

    So, why am I supposed to be impressed? Are all female breasts on the Web soooo dissimilar that I only see two or three? Why am I supposed to be impressed?

  38. gaiapunk says:

    I would love to see this done with video somehow, with like 4 second intervals

  39. gaiapunk says:

    I would love to see this go for like 5 minutes or be done with video somehow with 4 second intervals. It gets the coolest thing I’ve watched all day award for sure.

  40. igpajo says:

    LMAO!  I was watching that with my 14 year old son looking over my shoulder when the “Boobies” popped up.  We were both like “Augh!”  and started laughing.  Kind of suprised it didn’t get stuck on them for awhile.  

  41. noah django says:

    anyone else upset that there’s no frame-by-frame on vimeo?

  42. Nathan Galen says:

    i guess this means all ends point to a snake,

  43. Dave Brunker says:

    Goes well with Mark Shreeve’s song Image Attack from the album Riding The Edge

  44. Yuri Doric says:

    That is going to be my next tattoo …

  45. gourneau says:

    I love how the process of the image evolution at least in a gross way mirrors that of the universe.  Nothing to star clusters, to things in the world. Representations of ideas and emotions.

  46. MrScience says:

    I was watching this while “Ancient Machine” from Halo 2 was playing in the background. Haven’t seen anything that would match this discordant song, until this video. Neat concept.

  47. tilthouse says:

    Snake!  A snake!

  48. Michael Lumley says:

    So where was Kevin Bacon?

  49. marco cattani says:

    I’m expecting to see it in the future on some house music video on MTV

  50. Terris Linenbach says:

    1. I’m amazed it didn’t converge on endless porn.. but maybe safe browsing was on

    2. Know what’s next? Start with a blank web page and find similar pages.

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