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Google’s Artificial Intelligence Will Soon Be Able to Count Calories in Your Instagram Food Photos

Google’s Artificial Intelligence Will Soon Be Able to Count Calories in Your Instagram Food Photos

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Snapping a photo of your incredible new double bacon cheeseburger recipe? Be prepared for Google’s calorie count.

These days, who hasn’t taken a “foodstagram”? Whether it’s a home-cooked meal or a particularly photogenic spread of sushi at a local Japanese restaurant, we’re all guilty of snapping away and uploading to social media. But would you be more conscious of your digital food photo exploits if you knew that the Internet could count the calories just by looking at your picture? That’s the idea behind Im2Calories, the new initiative announced by Google’s research team at this week’s Re-Work Deep Learning Summit, an annual technology conference.Although the project is still being developed, the team is working on a new advancement in artificial intelligence that would be able to count calories in your food photos by analyzing the pixels.

The Google team explains that this new technology, which “marries visual analysis with pattern recognition,” is not intended to shame food photo addicts, but to make it easier to create a digital food diary, according to Popular Science. Right now, the software only works on low-resolution photos like Instagram uploads, but the team is developing a prototype that would work for any photo. As it stands, the technology is not perfect.

“We semi-automate,” Google research scientist Kevin Murphy said during the presentation of Im2Calories, noting that you can correct the software if it misreads a photo. “If it only works 30 percent of the time, it's enough that people will start using it, we'll collect data, and it'll get better over time.”


Google's 'Im2Calories' AI To Count Food Photo Calories

Counting Calories can be a useful tool for those who are trying to watch their weight, stick to a strict eating regimen as part of a workout routine, or for anyone who is just generally curious what their calorie intake might be. For those who are consistently taking pictures of their food and sharing it via Instagram and other social media sites, (guilty) having your calories counted for you by an intelligent computer program or algorithm could be an infinitely useful tool if they also fall into any group mentioned above. Google is reportedly working on an AI (artificial intelligence) project which is aiming to do just that, count the calories for each piece of food that people take photos of.

The project is called Im2Calories, and if Google is able to perfect this project it will be able to identify any food items that people capture in photos and then associate a calorie amount to each item, using visual analysis and pattern recognition. At current Google&rsquos progress on this new AI is still going through extended research, but like many other learning applications or services which people may use on a daily basis, (take third-party keyboards on an Android device for example which learn your vocabulary over time) Google states the Im2Calories tech will work in such a way that it learns the ability to read the correct caloric intake of individual food items in pictures over time, with the more pictures are taken of food and the more they&rsquore shared, by grabbing caloric data already found on the web and piecing it together like a puzzle with the images of food.

It sounds like a lofty goal but if there&rsquos any company capable of developing such a technology, Google would be it. According to Kevin P. Murphy who works with Google&rsquos research lab, Im2Calories uses &ldquosophisticated deep learning algorithms&rdquo to calculate the correct data for calories and apply it to photos. Past being able to give a calorie count to each and every one of your instagram food porn shots though, Murphy states that hopefully the technology could also be used and applied to other situations like analyzing traffic patterns to help people find parking spots. When and if the AI reaches this point is still an unknown but the research and the technology behind are interesting nonetheless.


Top Beer Brands Soon to List Calories

Brewers, under pressure to follow the food industry, agreed to list nutritional information for their drinks.

Peter Evans

LONDON—Nutritional labeling on alcoholic drinks could become the norm after four of the world’s biggest brewers backed plans to add calorie counts to their products in Europe—and the U.S. potentially is their next stop.

The Brewers of Europe, a trade body representing beer makers across the continent, said members soon would begin listing nutritional information on their brands. Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, SABMiller PLC, Heineken NV and Carlsberg A/S were among those to endorse the proposal, and some would start as early as Thursday.

Alcohol producers are coming under pressure to follow the food industry by providing more detail on nutrition, especially in developed markets where consumers increasingly make health-based decisions. In 2014, 71% of Americans said “healthfulness” was a consideration when buying foods and beverages, up from 58% in 2010, says the International Food Information Council Foundation.

Diageo PLC, the world’s biggest alcoholic beverages company, last week said it would begin offering per-serving calorie counts on products including Smirnoff vodka and Guinness. Labels could hit stores in the U.S. within two months, it said.

Some beer companies already list nutritional information on their websites—SABMiller has done so since 2008—but the new plans commit the companies to providing uniform breakdowns for all products sold in the European Union, including calorie, fat, carbohydrate and salt content per 100 milliliters of liquid.


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Photo verification is just one of several new safety features announced today by the Match Group -owned platform.

The so-called 'Does this bother you?' feature will use machine learning to try to identify offensive messages and provide users with an option to report inappropriate behaviour.

Similar technology will power an 'undo' feature, which will prompt users to recall messages with potentially offensive language before they are fully sent.

The photo verification feature will allow members to get their images authenticated by posing of a series of real-time selfies. Human-assisted artificial intelligence technology will then compare these submission to existing profile photos to confirm that they do match up

Tinder will also be unveiling a dedicated 'safety centre' in-app to explain the new security measures and provide links to resources and tools, such as links to sexual assault and human trafficking hotlines.

The safety centre will eventually be personalized to suit the needs of individual users, the firm said.

Some of the features — like photo verification and 'Does this bother you?' — will be tested in select markets before they are made more widely available.

The other tools will be rolled out across Tinder and the Match Groups other dating platforms — including Hinge, Match.com and OkCupid — over the coming months.

Tinder is one of the world's leading dating apps, which claims that it receives around two billion views per day and is responsible for around one million dates every week.

Tinder will also be unveiling a dedicated 'safety centre' in-app to explain the new security measures and provide links to resources and tools, such as links to sexual assault hotlines

In the US, Tinder has also teamed up with existing personal safety service Noonlight.

The collaboration will allow daters to share details such as who they are meeting, where and when via Noonlight's so-called 'timeline' feature — as well as provide an easy and discreet way to call emergency services if needed.

'Noonlight acts as a silent bodyguard in situations when you're alone or meeting someone for the first time,' explained Noonlight co-founder Brittany LeComte.

'Now, through our integration with Tinder, it can serve as a quick backup for daters, helping to deter bad behaviour and helping members meet matches with more confidence.'

'It’s a first-of-its-kind added security measure to help protect Tinder members even when they’ve taken their interactions off the app into real life.'

In the US, Tinder has also teamed up with existing personal safety service Noonlight. The collaboration will allow daters to share details such as who they are meeting, where and when via Noonlight's so-called 'timeline' feature

Tinder is one of the world's leading dating apps, which claims that it receives around two billion views per day and is responsible for around one million dates every week


‘Chatbots’ and artificial intelligence will soon nag YOU into losing weight by telling you to steer clear of the biscuit tin

Tech gurus at a top British university are working on automated bots which will gently nudge you into choosing a salad rather than a doughnut.

BRITISH computer experts are using artificial intelligence to build software which can nag overweight people into shedding the pounds.

Researchers have been studying our attitudes to dieting in order to train smart "chatbots" to recognise eating behaviour patterns, The Sun Online has learned.

These chatbots are designed to steer people in the right direction, sending messages to remind people to avoid fatty food.

A chatbot is a computer program that's designed to talk with humans.

They are already in use on Facebook Messenger, allowing users to do everything from ordering a pizza to checking the news by having a simulated "conversation" with the bots.

Bulge battlers may already be familiar with health apps on smartphones and gadgets like the Apple Watch, which monitor activity levels.

But instead of playing a fanfare when you’ve done 20,000 steps in a day, the fat-busting chatbot might be able to learn when you're likely to wolf down a huge burger and then send you a little message advising you to choose a salad instead.

At the recent RE•WORK AI Assistant Summit in London, Dr Anne Hsu, a lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, presented her work towards building a "psychologically-minded" healthy eating chatbot "coach".

"There are a lot of dialogue agents [chatbots] being built that help you with calories and food – recommending meals and helping you with the practical, tangible aspects of eating," she said.

While useful, these calorie counter apps don’t address the fact that people often give up on diets, which is what really interests Hsu.

"The idea is to help you understand why you are feeling that you want to eat unhealthily and understand the psychology behind it," she added.

Now, that doesn’t mean that to lose weight you have to start thinking like Sigmund Freud.

Instead, chatbots are being taught to understand psychology so we don't have to, allowing them to pre-empt our unhealthy food choices, push us to eat less calorific stuff and even pre-empt the sort of situations where we're likely to scoff loads of fatty grub.

"The reason why you eat unhealthily when you’re feeling tired might be different from when you’re in a social situation or when you’re just feeling hungry," said Hsu.

"And so a psychologically-minded agent can help you understand which context creates unhealthy temptations in different ways, and also provides context-sensitive help."

In collaboration with Dr Paul Piweck from the Open University and Professor Jon May of the University of Plymouth, Dr Hsu devised surveys to get inside the minds of people struggling to control their weight.

"There’s a lot of previously published health psychology work on the reasons people have unhealthy eating habits, and we also supplemented it with our own data," she said.

The different situations, thoughts, feelings, experiences and behaviour that can lead to unhealthy choices were analysed and then labelled in a way that would make it easier to properly train an artificial intelligence chatbot.

From the research, they established a two-step approach to the weight loss chatbot.

The first is a diary-style dialogue with the bot, where users tell it what they're eating at different times so that it can detect trends and offer advice.

The second is "in-the-moment" support that provides reminders of how a person successfully tackled difficult situations in the past. There are motivational imagery exercises too, that can help shift foodies' thinking away from unhealthy temptations.

Health problems related to being overweight cost the UK around £3.2 billion a year and individuals keen to bring about improvements need to stay motivated to manage weight loss effectively.

Dr Hsu and her colleagues are hopeful that a psychologically-minded AI chatbot could be the missing link in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and not just for dieting.

She said that chatbots could soon be used in offices to offer advice to stressed out workers.

"I've talked to many people interested in making executive coaching bots and suchlike," Hsu said.

"I’m also interested in helping students with university life and career coaching. Any area where people tend to have similar struggles and motivational difficulties would be a good candidate for creating a reasonable, psychologically-minded dialogue agent."

The question is: will people continue to engage with such a chatbot?

There are probably more Fitbits gathering dust in drawers than being actively used, so would a weight loss chat bot end up discarded like an unloved wearable?

Perhaps not, as it seems we’ve an enduring fascination with chatbots, said Andrew McStay, professor of Digital Life at Bangor University, during a presentation on Emotional AI at the same event.

McStay reminded the audience of ELIZA, a chatbot from the 1960s which worked like an automated psychotherapist and asked people to tell it their innermost thoughts.

Although ELIZA merely mimicked conversations and simulated the role of a shrink, many users who had text-based discussions with the computer program were convinced that it was intelligent.

Bringing the topic up-to-date, he referred to a recent article by Liesl Yearsley, former CEO of Cognea, a company now owned by IBM that built sophisticated AI agents.

Yearsley observed that people are willing to speak to AI assistants for longer than human assistants. They are also willing to volunteer a lot of personal secrets to the chatbot.

"People are quickly willing to suspend disbelief to gain gratification from human-AI relationships,’ said McStay, who appreciates the value of virtual assistants but has concerns about how they might evolve.

"Our texts, facial expressions voice characteristics and biometric data from wearables are being analysed to interpret our emotional state but do the benefits outweigh the risks?

"Is it entirely desirable that machines are able to use, sense and feel into human emotional life? What are the implications? We’re talking about making people and emotional life machine readable, and this is a really quite profound development."

The implications of this technology are huge.

It seems likely that ubiquitous digital assistants such as Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana will soon be able to read people's emotions by analysing their tone of voice, raising the spectre of constant surveillance.

The tech could lead to situations where, for instance, insurance companies analyse people's speech when they phone to make a claim.

If artificial intelligence decides you're not telling the truth, it will derail your claim - and it's not clear whether humans will be able to appeal when a computer says no.

To what extent will we be able to meaningfully restrict companies from analysing our emotions?

"Information about emotions is incredibly useful for marketers and advertisers because it tells them when to approach, what to approach us with and when to leave us alone (and of course approach later),’ said McStay who sees emotionally aware chatbots as inevitable.

He fears we could easily sleepwalk into giving permission to harvest our emotional data, as hardly anybody reads the terms and conditions for digital services nowadays and this is unlikely to change.

"On the one hand, these systems are great, they naturalise interactions with technology and provide scope for a valuable relationship," McStay added.

"On the other hand, the concerns are very real in terms of commercial and governmental exploitation. There is scope to treat people as objects rather than subjects.

"That, for me, seems like a big deal."

Emotional AI: The Rise of Empathic Media by Andrew McStay will be published by Sage early next year.


Alexa can call an Uber or Lyft

If you’re a heavy public transportation user, chances are you’ve found yourself running late and trying to call a ride with one hand while getting dressed with the other. Once you set up this skill on Alexa — the app needs to know the location of your Echo — you can desperately scream for a ride while showering and thinking of what excuse for being late you’re going to tell your boss this time. These are the kinds of things voice-activated systems were made for.


New spelling algorithm to reduce misspellings in Google Search

One in 10 queries on Google Search are misspelled and the tech giant has now introduced a new spelling algorithm that uses a deep neural net to significantly improve the ability to decipher misspellings, in under three milliseconds.

According to Google, this single algorithm makes a greater improvement to spelling than all of its improvements over the last five years.

The company on Thursday detailed how artificial intelligence (AI) is powering its Search engine, announcing numerous improvements made to Search over the year and some new features coming soon.

Google has invested deeply in language understanding research and last year, it introduced how BERT language understanding systems are helping to deliver more relevant results in Google Search.

“We’re excited to share that BERT is now used in almost every query in English, helping you get higher quality results for your questions,” said Prabhakar Raghavan, Senior Vice President, Search and Assistant, Geo, Ads, Commerce, Payments & NBU.

Google recently made a breakthrough in ranking and is now able to not just index web pages but individual passages from the pages.

“This technology will improve 7 per cent of search queries across all languages as we roll it out globally,” Raghavan added.

With new passage understanding capabilities, Google can understand that the specific passage is a lot more relevant to a specific query than a broader page on that topic.

As an example, if you search for “home exercise equipment,” Google Search can now understand relevant subtopics, such as budget equipment, premium picks, or small space ideas, and show a wider range of content for you on the search results page.

“We’ll start rolling this out by the end of this year,” Raghavan said.

Using a new AI-driven approach, Google said it is now able to understand the deep semantics of a video and automatically identify key moments.

“This lets us tag those moments in the video, so you can navigate them like chapters in a book. Whether you’re looking for that one step in a recipe tutorial, or the game-winning home run in a highlights reel, you can easily find those moments,” the company informed.

Google thinks that by the end of this year, 10 per cent of searches will use this new technology.


Hunger Fast Facts

  1. There is more than enough food produced in the world to feed everyone on the planet.
  2. About 690 million people worldwide go to bed hungry each night.
  3. Small farmers, herders, and fishermen produce about 70 percent of the global food supply, yet they are especially vulnerable to food insecurity – poverty and hunger are most acute among rural populations.
  4. Conflict is a major driver of hunger: The UN estimates that 122 million of 144 million stunted children live in countries affected by conflict.
  5. An estimated 14 million children under the age of five worldwide suffer from severe acute malnutrition, also known as severe wasting, yet only 25 percent of severely malnourished children have access to lifesaving treatment.

Conclusion Of My Top 10 best bodybuilding apps.

There are countless fitness apps to choose from. Truth be told, most of them are quite similar, as they allow you to do the regular, vital tracking of workouts and counting of burned calories. Each one, however, has one or two segments that separates it from the pack and gives you an edge depending on the style of training you’re interested in.

If I had to pinpoint the best ones out of this top 10 list I would have to go with Dr. Muscle. Without it is the only one that uses artificial intelligence to build muscle. After Dr. Muscle , MyFitnessPal is the best nutrition app. It provides you with millions of food descriptions and all the nutrient and calorie facts you need. Endomondo has all the fitness tracking and social media benefits that you’d otherwise get from 2-3 apps combined. The huge amount of users ensures that the app will be improved and maintained in the future as well.

Yoga Studio is standalone in the list because it’s the only one that fully taps into the yoga aspect of training. If you really want to learn some yoga but don’t want to visit an actual studio due to personal insecurities (hey, I don’t blame you, I don’t want to either) then its a proper digital alternative.

Either way, I hope this list will help you pinpoint which best bodybuilding app can help you the best, and I hope you will give it a try for the benefit of your own fitness success.

Oh yes, one more thing, if you are looking to gain mass please check out this guide to the best mass gainers on the market.

Alex Rogers is a supplement manufacturing expert. He has been formulating, consulting, & manufacturing dietary supplements since 1998. Alex invented protein customization in 1998 & was the first company to allow consumers to create their own protein blends. He helped create the first supplement to contain natural follistatin, invented whey protein with egg lecithin, & recently imported the world’s first 100% hydrolyzed whey.


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