In recent years, Google has made deep inroads into the field of Artificial Intelligence by acquiring several most-buzzed about companies in the field of AI and robotics such as UK’s expert deep learning firm DeepMind. While the Googleplex’s most talked about projects include driverless self-driving cars, WiFi internet through balloons and Google Fiber, an announcement at the recent Rework Deep Learning Summit has revealed that Google’s Deep Learning department is working on counting how many calories you just consumed when you just gorged down that breakfast buffet.
Enter Im2Calories – The New Google AI Project
According to Kevin Murphy, a Google Research Scientist, this new project conveniently named Im2Calories uses sophisticated deep learning algorithms to analyze a photo of various food items on a pixel level, and estimate the number of calories that are present in each of the dish. Like many other AI based applications, Im2calories is not startlingly accurate in its current nascent form but the developers hope that it will get more self-reliant and accurate as it parses more data with increased usage.
However, the crux of this project is not to shame you into eating less than you’d like or shunning your favorite food items for healthier albeit less tasty options. Obviously, this AI program could be a very useful tool to simplify food tracking and improve food diary apps and other nutrition software. But it is the AI behind Im2calories that has scientists and researchers all over the world in a frenzy.
Being able to analyze things on a pixel level opens up portals of endless possibilities.
Kevin Murphy has hinted at employing this AI program to tasks as varied in nature as detecting traffic patterns to mining population level statistics in epidemiology.
IM2Calories Launch Date
As of now, Google has been mum about launching Im2Calories as a public product. As Google spokesperson Jason Freidenfelds hinted, the “algorithms for Im2calories are still being researched” and there are no definite product plans as of now. There is little doubt that if launched publically Im2Calories will be a massive hit, especially among the food pornographers of Instagram.
But what is more interesting is the number of seemingly unlimited implications of having an AI software that can make decisions by analyzing things on a pixel level. We think that it is safe to say that if successful, this AI program will revolutionize the food and beverage industry and will transform the way food manufacturing and catering industries work.
How IM2Calories Could Impact Food & Restaurant Industry
Let’s say that the software behind Im2Calories does exactly what Google claims it will be able to do. This would mean that one can easily identify toxic or undesirable contaminants in their dishes or products. This will force the food manufacturers to alter or improve their manufacturing and processing methodologies in order to deliver food that is not only healthier but also free of even the minimal amount of contaminants.
If we talk about the Catering industry, the restaurants will also have to pull their socks (and then wash their hands, hopefully) to maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene lest they want their clientele diminishing faster than a pizza in a dorm room.
The same goes for the Fast Food industry which is not exactly new to hygiene related scandals. Softwares like Im2Calories will allow general public to scan if the chicken wings they are eating actually do belong to a chicken or not, with just a single tap on the screen. Any fast food brand that wants to stay relevant will have to make sure that their food is also clean, while being fast.
Apart from the food industry, such AI programs can also be used in sectors as diverse as healthcare (to detect benign melanoma of skin) to traffic management (to find the perfect parking spot for your self-driving car).
Well, let’s just say that the possibilities are endless and we can’t wait to get our hands on it. But in the meantime, let’s just upload what you think about this post in the comments below before you start putting up the snaps of what you ate in the breakfast on the internet.