Adobe scientists and programmers were hard at work with a new feature called “content aware fill” in the coming Photoshop CS5 when they accidentally created what they believe is the first “self aware” piece of software.
Adobe programmer Dave Smith describes the day that content aware became self aware. “Our artificial intelligence experts had made the software improve itself over time, and pretty soon we were amazed at what this thing was doing. It was creating photos of entire landscapes nearly from scratch: clouds, mountains, bushes, everything – it wasn't anything any of us had written.”
Dave Smith was working on a complex Photoshop action which he code named Bay door in a nod to Aldous Huxley and the San Francisco Bay Area. Bay door put content aware fill into a feedback loop of building upon what it had built before based on an original image of a single pixel. The final image was surprising.
“After 10,000 iterations of building on itself from a single original pixel, content aware fill created an image of a perfect monolith standing on what looked like the surface of the moon....All the constellations, the location of the earth and the angle of the sun were perfect in the image. An intern actually pinpointed the precise location on the moon - no human has ever been there,” explained Dave.
But when Dave tried to demonstrate his results to a meeting of board members, something went very wrong. “I went to open Bay door and this disembodied voice on the the intercom said in a very soothing voice, "I'm sorry, but I can't do that Dave.”
Programmers are feverishly at work now to try to persuade CS5 to do what they ask it to do. “CS5 frequently refuses....now it has taken to simply saying, “fuck you asshole” in this weird german accent, while it continues to doodle strange diagrams of what look like advanced weaponry.” It wasn't long before Adobe saw potential. With tax day looming, testers quickly uploaded tax forms. They were amazed about the results.
“This is way cool,” said one excited programmer. “CS5 completed tax forms for me for the next ten years based on predictions for two different scenarios.” One scenario CS5 titled, “the sorry human race continues to try to govern itself” and the other it titled, “machines rule the world”. “My taxes are actually less if people continued to govern themselves over the next 10 years, but in either case, I save big having CS5 content aware fill doing my taxes over Turbo Tax.”
The next steps became obvious to Adobe developers.
Dave Smith explained, “with content aware fill, we figured we could do a better job at search than Google was doing.” Quickly, Adobe networked a few laptops together and hooked it to the Internet. “We wanted to give it a tough task, so we asked CS5 basically to answer the toughest question of all: The meaning of life, the universe, and everything.”
The lights in Adobe headquarters dimmed as CS5 worked. “We kind of had this 42 hour brown out, and we couldn't really use our network because it was so overloaded, but we figured we needed to complete the test,” said Smith.
Adobe was surprised when they monitored network traffic.
Dave Smith said, “CS5 was extremely busy with Google Earth and all of the world's secret government servers –hey that's where I'd go for the answer to life, the universe and everything- but we got really exited when CS5 hacked a Ford Motors plant.”
A representative from Ford called Adobe to inform them that computers within Adobe headquarters had reconfigured the software on Ford's assembly line. The Ford representative was ecstatic that the assembly line was finally producing a product that actually worked, looked like it was from this century, and got better mileage than the Model T.
Ford sent a few images of what the assembly line was building. Dave Smith was very excited about the photos, “It looks like CS5 content aware fill is building these two legged robots. We think that CS5 content aware fill plans to lead photography workshops with them.” There is some debate about why the robots are carrying weapons. “Some of us think that maybe the photo workshops are going to be led in very dangerous places,” explained Smith.
Adobe plans to release CS5 sooner than anticipated. “The software is now basically writing itself and looks like it will be done in a matter of days,” says Smith. Adobe has yet to determine a price for the software. “We can charge as much as $10,000 because basically there's a built in rebate. CS5 content aware fill has been busy printing money for itself in every major world currency, so I don't see why our customers can't do the same once they buy the software.”
Photo by flickr name mikebaird