By Victoria Turk
AN ARTIFICIAL intelligence system can predict how a scene will unfold and dream up a vision of the immediate future.
Given a still image, the deep learning algorithm generates a mini video showing what could happen next. If it starts with a picture of a train station, it might imagine the train pulling away from the platform, for example. Or an image of a beach could inspire it to animate the motion of lapping waves.
Teaching AI to anticipate the future can help it comprehend the present. To understand what someone is doing when they’re preparing a meal, we might imagine that they will next eat it, something which is tricky for an AI to grasp. Such a system could also let an AI assistant recognise when someone is about to fall, or help a self-driving car foresee an accident.
“Any robot that operates in our world needs to have some basic ability to predict the future,” says Carl Vondrick at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, part of the team that created the new system. “For example, if you’re about to sit down, you don’t want a robot to pull the chair out from underneath you.
To teach the AI to make better videos, the team used an approach called adversarial networks. One network generates the videos, and the other judges whether they look real or fake. The two get locked in competition: the video generator tries to make videos that best fool the other network, while the other network hones its ability to distinguish the generated videos from real ones.