Can Google’s AutoDraw recognise your doodles?

12 Apr 2017

Image: SloOna/Shutterstock

Google has launched its latest machine learning experiment, calling on the public to flex their doodling skills to see if AI can guess what they’re drawing.

While attempts to source contributions from the public to improve a machine learning algorithm can backfire quite spectacularly, Google has managed to do it right with its own efforts to boost artificial intelligence (AI).

Last November, Google revealed a new game called Quick, Draw!, which tested a person’s artistic ability by asking them to draw an image of something based on a word, leaving it up to Google’s AI to match it up.

The idea was to crowdsource a number of different variations of one object in order to learn the key characteristics that make the item distinct from others.

Google has now released its latest game, AutoDraw, and this time, it is the AI that is seriously put to the test.

With AutoDraw, the human has to doodle whatever shape comes to mind, and the AI must use its image-matching algorithm to determine the possibilities.

AutoDraw in action. GIF: Google

Like a smart Microsoft Paint

So, unless your drawing is completely out of line with what you were thinking, it should be able to find at least one match. For example, a crude drawing of two wheels and a bar between them will likely see it suggest that your drawing is a bicycle.

While it might help the engineers over at Google better curate its AI, AutoDraw also has some uses for those of us with little skills in drawing, but who want to appear as if we do.

Almost like a smart version of Microsoft Paint, AutoDraw will take your doodle of a cake, and suggest the better image in place of it, while allowing the user to add in some basic colours or text.

Anyone keen to try it out can do so at on either desktop or mobile devices.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic