The robot that can ruin ‘Where’s Wally’: Watch this incredible AI pick out the fictional character from a crowd of 300 faces in just FOUR seconds

  • Developers have created an AI robot that uses facial recognition technology
  • It can locate the elusive character ‘Wally’ (or Waldo) in less than four seconds
  • The robot can identify Wally in a crowd of up to 300 other fictional faces
  • Using a robotic arm, it points him out in an average of just four seconds
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Many people remember spending hours poring over a Where’s Wally? book, trying to find the man wearing thick-rimmed glassed and a red and white striped shirt.

However, a robot is now capable of ruining this much-loved childhood classic.

Developers have created an AI that uses facial recognition technology to locate the elusive character Wally, known as Waldo in America, in less than four seconds.

The AI robot was designed by Matt Reed, 41, from the Nashville-based creative agency Redpepper.

It has a camera which takes a photo of the page.

The faces are then detected and analysed by Google’s AutoML Vision service which lets users train their own AI tools, even if they have no knowledge of how to code. 

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The robot can identify Wally in a crowd of up to 300 other fictional faces and then using a robotic arm, it points him out in an average of just four seconds. 

Responses to Mr Reed’s creation have been mixed on social media, with some calling it the ‘Greatest invention ever’ with others questioning, ‘Do you know how many 5-year-olds are going to be out of a job because of you?’


Developers have created an AI robot that uses facial recognition technology to locate the elusive character ‘Wally’ (or Waldo in America) in less than four seconds


The AI robot was designed by Matt Reed, 41, from the Nashville-based creative agency Redpepper. It has a camera which takes a photo of the page

Amused by the varying reactions, Mr Reed, who insists he doesn’t intend on spoiling anymore nostalgic pastimes in the future, said: ‘I’ve always enjoyed the Waldo books and now I have kids of my own I’m seeing just how much of a timeless challenge it is.

‘[With] all the projects I work on, the purpose is to learn about the latest tech.

‘I always need a problem to solve, so we try our hardest to put a fun or interesting spin on it.’

Mr Reed trained the image classification AI by uploading around 62 photos of Wally scraped from a Google Image search.


The faces are then detected and analysed by Google’s AutoML Vision service which lets users train their own AI tools, even if they have no knowledge of how to code


Many people remember spending hours poring over the Where’s Wally? book, trying to find the man wearing thick-rimmed glassed and a red and white striped shirt


The robot can identify Wally in a crowd of up to 300 other fictional faces and then using a robotic arm, it points him out in an average of just four seconds

‘I thought that wouldn’t be enough data to build a strong model but it gives surprisingly good predictions on Waldos that weren’t in the original training set’, he said. 

‘Making tech fun and interesting to the next generation is very important – and this felt like a good way to show that.

‘People want to be inspired and I want them to know that anybody can do this stuff, you just need a problem to solve and you’ll learn more than you ever thought you could.’


Responses to Mr Reed’s creation have been mixed on social media, with some calling it the ‘Greatest invention ever’ with others questioning, ‘Do you know how many 5-year-olds are going to be out of a job because of you?’

WILL YOUR JOB BE TAKEN BY A ROBOT?

A report in November 2017 suggested that physical jobs in predictable environments, including machine-operators and fast-food workers, are the most likely to be replaced by robots.

Management consultancy firm McKinsey, based in New York, focused on the amount of jobs that would be lost to automation, and what professions were most at risk.

The report said collecting and processing data are two other categories of activities that increasingly can be done better and faster with machines. 

This could displace large amounts of labour – for instance, in mortgages, paralegal work, accounting, and back-office transaction processing.

Conversely, jobs in unpredictable environments are least are risk.

The report added: ‘Occupations such as gardeners, plumbers, or providers of child- and eldercare – will also generally see less automation by 2030, because they are technically difficult to automate and often command relatively lower wages, which makes automation a less attractive business proposition.’

 

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