Where’s Waldo? is a popular children’s book, where the pages are filled to the brim with bright art of different scenarios, crowded with colorful people, stimulating and whimsical objects, and radiant backgrounds. The objective given to the reader is to find Waldo, a John Lennon lookalike dressed up like a candy cane, tucked innocently into the convoluted scene. (If Yoko Ono is reading this, please don’t ruin Where’s Waldo).
Redpepper, a creative agency, has built an AI powered robot called There’s Waldo (how clever) that can find our goofy hero in around 5 seconds (beating my average by 24 minutes). The robot is quite simple: a block of wood with a Raspberry-Pi mounted on top, followed by a metallic looking robot arm with a comical rubber hand on the end, used to crudely point at our hide-and-go-seek loving friend.
The head of the project, Matt Reed, said creating the whimsical contraption was quite simple. Matt collected 62 different images of “Waldo heads” as well as 45 “full-bodied Waldos,” and fed these images into AutoML Vision, an AI & machine learning program created by Google. The camera mounted on the robo-arm snaps pictures of the page, reads over the data, finds possible “Waldo matches,” and if there is 95% or more accuracy detected, the rubber hand will hover in over the area and give Waldo a nice 1-inch punch that would make Bruce Lee cower in fear at our new robot overlords.
This frightening revelation in the world of AI leaves us wondering what the future will hold. Will Robocop soon follow our every move, ready to laser blast us into oblivion over that littered Pepsi can? Will researchers create a computer that emulates a human brain, bringing a debate on the morality and rights of Artificial “humans?” Will someone create a robot that spoils movies for you and is also really good at Connect Four?
Who knows what the future of Artificial Intelligence holds. It will be an incredible future, one where technological leaps and bounds are made at an exponential rate. Let’s just pray that our new overlord-to-be, the Waldo-Slapper-9000, doesn’t know your home address, because we all know there’s some wrongthink in that search history of yours.