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SkyKnit: How an AI Took Over an Adult Knitting Community

SkyKnit

Janelle Shane is a humorist who creates and mines her material from neural networks, the form of machine learning that has come to dominate the field of artificial intelligence over the last half-decade. Perhaps you’ve seen the candy-heart slogans she generated for Valentine’s Day: DEAR ME, MY MY, LOVE BOT, CUTE KISS, MY BEAR, and LOVE BUN. Or her new paint-color names: Parp Green, Shy Bather, Farty Red, and Bull Cream. Or her neural-net-generated Halloween costumes: Punk Tree, Disco Monster, Spartan Gandalf, Starfleet Shark, and A Masked Box.

Her latest project, still ongoing, pushes the joke into a new, physical realm. Prodded by a knitter on the knitting forum Ravelry, Shane trained a type of neural network on a series of over 500 sets of knitting instructions. Then, she generated new instructions, which members of the Ravelry community have actually attempted to knit.

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Data-Mining 100 Million Instagram Photos Reveals Global Clothing Patterns

Instagram Photos Global Clothing Patterns

The millions of photos uploaded to social media are a massive untapped resource for studying humanity. But machine learning is beginning to tap this mother lode.

“Imagine a future anthropologist with access to trillions of photos of people—taken over centuries and across the world—and equipped with effective tools for analyzing these photos to derive insights. What kinds of new questions can be answered?”

This is the dream that has inspired Kevin Matzen, Kavita Bala, and Noah Snavely at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

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