The News Today
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8.19.19
Duel Of The FAItes

According to a Neural Network, Luke Skywalker Is a Surfing Baseball Player

July 25th 19__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Artificial Intelligence
Erick Palacio via Pixabay/Tag Hartman-Simkins

Umpire Strikes Back

Major “Star Wars” geeks like to obsess over minutiae, but even the most astute fans probably missed the brief glimpse of Luke Skywalker’s iconic surfboard and baseball bat while he was dueling with Kylo Ren in “The Last Jedi.”

But a neural network spotted them both, revealing comical limitations in today’s best AI. Janelle Shane, the artificial intelligence expert who used AI to create bizarre candy hearts and kitten names sicced two pre-existing algorithms called DeepLab and SPADE on the iconic “Star Wars” and watched the chaos unfold. Shane shared the results online and, well, they’re unusual.

Wookie Of The Year

DeepLab interpreted the scene frame-by-frame and segmented the image into different objects. Then SPADE created a new frame based on what DeepLab spotted, Shane explained in her blog.

Since DeepLab doesn’t know what a lightsaber is, it turned Luke Skywalker into a “person” holding a “baseball bat.”

Replace Us, AI Will

As Skywalker and Kylo Ren fight, DeepLab struggles to parse the background. Sometimes it interprets the scenery as snow, so SPADE dutifully dresses the two fallen Jedi in snowsuits. Sometimes a surfboard appears on the floor and a fire hydrant embeds itself in Kylo Ren’s torso.

For now, the output looks like a hellish fever dream, but as algorithms like these improve, we may see them recreate iconic movie scenes from scratch.

READ MORE: The world through the eyes of a neural net [AI Weirdness]

More on Janelle Shane: Was That Script Written By A Human Or An AI? Here’s How To Spot The Difference.