Google reportedly is about to change the game for food pic posters, with the tech company working on an app that uses artificial intelligence to reveal how many calories are in food snaps, according to Popular Science (via Business Insider). The app, Im2Calories, was revealed in a demo given by Google research scientist Kevin Murphy this week and showed how many calories were in a photo of a plate of two eggs, three strips of bacon and two pancakes.
Kevin said the point of the app was not to food-shame people, but rather, to simplify the process of keeping a food diary and eliminate the annoyance of manually plugging food items into an app.
As far as how Im2Calories works, it can draw connections between what food looks like and "vast amounts" of available caloric data. It even calculates the calories of the condiments on it. The tech guru said they're expecting some bugs at first, but thinks the app will still be widely popular. "To me it's obvious that people really want this and this is really useful," he said.
"Ok fine, maybe we get the calories off by 20 per cent. It doesn't matter," he continued. "We're going to average over a week or a month or a year. And now we can start to potentially join information from multiple people and start to do population level statistics. I have colleagues in epidemiology and public health, and they really want this stuff."
Google recently filed for a patent for Im2Calories, but Kevin didn't disclose when the app would be available or how much it would cost. He did say, if they can do this for food, it's just the beginning. "We want to do things like localize cars, count the cars, get attributes of the cars, which way are they facing. Then we can do things like traffic scene analysis, predict where the most likely parking spot is. 'And since this is all learned from data, the technology is the same, you just change the data."
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