Pareidolia in Machines


Interesting article from ‘The Atlantic’ regarding the topic of pareidolia; the human tendency to read significance into random or vague stimuli. Pareidolia was apparantly thought of as a symptom of psychosis, but is now recognized as a normal, human tendency. And the appearance of a face where there is none is perhaps the most common variant of pareidolia, and the most famous is probably spotting Jesus or Mary in anything from toast to tortilla.

And now, recently, scientists have been training computers to detect faces with facial-recognition software, and, like humans, computers also come up with false positives – computers also display pareidolia. This may look like computers are more or less human, that they have some of the most human cognitive errors. But, as the article explains, as you look into these computer false-positives a bit more, you find a different story: a computer’s flaws are still very machine-like – and ours are very human.

The article can be found by clicking the image above or link beneath:

This entry was posted in Face perception, Neuroscience, Optical illusions, Pareidolia, Perception and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Pareidolia in Machines

  1. I have a picture of a small piece of bacon shaped like Australia…does that count? 😉

  2. Pingback: Sunday’s Sermon: Pareidolia | Episyllogism

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