Deep Dreaming

You’ve heard about Google’s Deep Dream algorithm? If not you can read about it here, but in an overly simplified nutshell, it’s their artificial neural network’s attempt to recognize order and structures in an image. It finds structure where there is none, and things get really, really weird.

The team has released the code so that anyone can upload an image and have Deep Dream work its surreal magic.

I chose a picture I took one morning before hiking Mount Olympus in Utah. The picture faces east toward the Wasatch mountains a short time after the sun had risen above the mountain tops:

The result is an acid trip that is both whimsical and terrifying. It’s an almost carnival atmosphere where creatures of a pretty, yet hauntingly abstract form graze in a psychedelic field below a floating manatee and potato. A gazebo and the mirage of circus tents appear in the distance, and tower reminiscent of a scene from The Dream of Perpetual Motion maintains vigil over the scene. Or not. It’s an artificial neural network’s acid trip. Not mine.