Every day we read yet another scare story in the tabloid end of the newspapers and online news world, informing us of our impending doom at the hands of our AI robot overlords over the next ten, twenty or fifty years.

Today is slightly different. As the big story of the moment is that an AI robot has finally done that thing that generations of parents and kids alike have failed to do.

It’s cracked how to find Wally in “Where’s Wally?” books faster than any human!

It’s Waldo, you Wally!

Matt Reed of Nashville-based creative agency Redpepper and his “There’s Waldo” robot arm, which you can see pictured here, are the ones who have achieved this momentous feat, according to The Times this week.

Walso, for those who are not aware, is the name that is given to Wally in the US editions of the popular children’s’ book series.

Yet, as The Times asks: is it spoiling the fun of Where’s Wally? If a robot can spot wee Wally/Waldo faster than a child, what is the point of… well, human beings, life, the universe and everything?!

Redpepper’s “There’s Waldo” machine is a simple metal arm with a rubber hand that is used to test out Google’s AutoML Vision software, that allows developers without machine-learning experience to create useful image-recognition tools.

The tech was developed by Redpepper to give a friendly face to AI technology, as Matt Reed thinks that too many find AI unapproachable “and irrelevant by extension”, and thus he wanted to show it off in a fun and accessible way.

The massively popular Where’s Wally? books were originally designed by British illustrator Martin Handford and have achieved global success. In the US he is called Waldo. In Germany he is Walter. And in Afrikaans he is Willie!

Reed used 62 Wally heads found on Google Images and his robot arm is controlled by a Raspberry Pi computer, packing a basic digital camera that captures the image and learns to spot Wally/Waldo/Walter/Willie on the page in almost no time at all.

Reed notes that: “While only a prototype, the fastest that There’s Waldo has pointed out a match has been 4.45 seconds — which is better than most five-year-olds.”

The Wally-finder algorithm is just the beginning! See more over on Redpepper’s YouTube Channel.

One Twitter user wrote: “And just like that, an AI robot surpassed the human race.”

Another added: “Soon they will enslave us.”

Via The Times

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