Tech

Google has created 2.5 million virtual chats: but what for?

To train its new home automation devices, Google has created millions of virtual chats that do virtual nonsense in virtual apartments.

Artificial intelligence is an extremely data-intensive field. Google’s latest experiments show it clearly, since the search giant had to create no less than 2.5 million virtual chats to feed one of its algorithms.

Three AI-powered Nest cameras

The company has just released new Nest home automation accessories enriched with artificial intelligence. Three new surveillance cameras are entering the manufacturer’s catalog, accompanied by a door bell. Supposed to help you better monitor and manage your connected home, these accessories are able to alert you when someone arrives in front of your home, if unusual movement has been detected in your apartment or if a package has been left on your doorstep. the door.

New Nest cameras
The new Nest cameras // Source: Google

To properly assess when situations arise, the new Nest cameras have a dedicated machine learning chip. This allows them to process the information locally without sending it to Google’s servers. The chip is able to understand who is in front of your house (whether it is a known face or not) or if your cat is currently playing with the dishes lying on the table. The camera can then send you an alert and let you interact remotely by voice.

2.5 million cats thanks to the Pokemon Go engine

To better recognize and understand the behavior of pets, Google first fed its recognition algorithm with 40 million photos of cats and dogs. An essential step to tell you if it’s Rex or Tigger who is killing your favorite bedspread. But to understand how your animals move and determine which of their behaviors are worth alerting, it took a step further.

Google then partnered with Unity technologies, the company behind the 3D game engine of the same name. The free tool, which is behind well-known titles like Hearthstone, Kerbal Space Program, or Pokemon Go, has allowed Google to generate virtual apartments, filled with virtual pets that do virtual nonsense. By creating lots of different situations and letting animal avatars roam the house freely, Google was able to provide its cameras with lots of images to analyze. In all, it is therefore no less than 2.5 million digital cats who were able to frolic in virtual settings, under the watchful eye of Google engineers.

One of the experiments conducted by Google // Source: Google

The cameras were able to observe pets in situations never before seen, without having to search the entire web to feed its database. ” We needed cats and dogs in certain scenarios, in certain lighting. We were quite precise in our requirements, explains a Google engineer. Creating a simulation was therefore the most suitable solution to meet these needs.

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