What dog do I look like?

12 Feb 2016

Microsoft is back with another image identifier tool, this time trying to pick out dog breeds from a swarm of options. But, you may ask, what dog breed does Microsoft think I am?

Last May, Microsoft revealed its new crowdsourcing toy. Called How-Old, it sought for people to upload selfies and it would estimate their age.

It was, largely speaking, dreadful. At least, that’s what it seemed initially. What Microsoft was actually doing was trawling for data, tailoring its findings with every piece of feedback it received (you had the option of correcting the judgement if you were insulted enough to bother).

It’s a clever ploy, and plays into an area we looked at late last year, how social media companies are powering ahead of the field when it comes to AI.

That’s largely because we pour our personal data into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. These services know our mood, our look, our key details. We update as we go, correct, input, correct, input.

We give it all up

Take Facebook, for example. Through its own algorithms, it orchestrates a system that promotes the right ads or services, at the right time, in the right place, to the right users.

You help the company do this, of course, through things like ‘liking’ brand pages, but pretty much everything you do within the Facebook service (and beyond) is fed into the company’s burgeoning AI database.

This, lately, has shifted more towards images. Well, let’s face it, social media has, lately, shifted more towards images. Google, of course, has had projects, each one vastly improved on the previous.

Microsoft’s route to AI improvement, though, is the most fun, as it captures us immediately. Just like How-Old, once we heard of What-Dog the Silicon Republic team were interested.

I started with images of dogs, finding that crossbreeds confused Microsoft’s algorithms. Not by much, as the guesses were okay, but they weren’t exactly right.

What dog do I look like?What dog do I look like?

The first of the above is a Labrador/Spaniel cross, the latter a German pointer cross of some kind. The first pure breed I put in though, my brother’s dog Bailey, was spot on.

What dog do I look like?

But wait, what of us humans, what breed are we? Well, it turns out, we’re an eclectic bunch of Poodles, Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Dobermans and, of course, a Pekingese, the latter a clear spirit animal of publishing.

Kirsty John Gorey-dog What dog do I look like? What dog do I look like?What dog do I look like?

So what dog are you?

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic