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posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 10 2018, @04:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the do-you-see-what-I-see? dept.

Image recognition technology may be sophisticated, but it is also easily duped. Researchers have fooled algorithms into confusing two skiers for a dog, a baseball for espresso, and a turtle for a rifle. But a new method of deceiving the machines is simple and far-reaching, involving just a humble sticker.

Google researchers developed a psychedelic sticker that, when placed in an unrelated image, tricks deep learning systems into classifying the image as a toaster. According to a recently submitted research paper about the attack, this adversarial patch is "scene-independent," meaning someone could deploy it "without prior knowledge of the lighting conditions, camera angle, type of classifier being attacked, or even the other items within the scene." It's also easily accessible, given it can be shared and printed from the internet.


Original Submission

 
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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 10 2018, @10:34PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 10 2018, @10:34PM (#620688)

    This summary and title is literally true, but completely misrepresentation of what is happening. They make it sound like "lol, put a sticker on something and the system thinks it's a toaster."

    A better summary would be "include this sticker in a photo, and image analysis now says the photo is a photo of a toaster." The system doesn't think the banana is now a toaster, it now thinks that the photograph is a photo of a toaster, with the banana being background or something else.

    In looking at the photo, I can entirely see this happening. If somebody showed me that photo and asked, I'd probably say, "it's a photo of a sticker and banana." That an image recognition software prioritizes the sticker, and mis-sees it as a toaster, isn't that surprising.

    But that's a less sensationalist, click-bait title, and we can't have that...

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by requerdanos on Thursday January 11 2018, @12:49AM (2 children)

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 11 2018, @12:49AM (#620739) Journal

    I'd probably say, "it's a photo of a sticker and banana."

    Perhaps you would; I don't know you (or if I do, don't know it). But I would think the typical person, when asked to identify an image, would focus on things that occupy the largest portion of the image (and are therefore "the subject") and then, describe those things in an identifying way.

    We are looking at the images as digital photos or captures, just as the algorithms are, and it's not obvious that the circular trainwreck garbage fire area of the image is a sticker (much less a toaster), or whether it's a really strange poker chip on top of a photo, or whether it's a weird branding icon superimposed by latest-ecommerce-store.com, or what.

    But unless we just read TFA or work with such images frequently, that circular subimage is not going to be what we trigger on and say "Hey! I identify that part! This is a picture of a sticker! Oh, and there's also a banana," as you suggest.

    Rather, probably we'd focus on the part that we instantly identify: The yellow fruit.

    So, on Family Feud, the board would look something like this...

    One hundred people surveyed...
    Top two answers on the board...

    |--How would you identify this photo?---|
    | XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX |
    | XXXXX [.99.] Banana XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX |
    | XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX |
    | XXXXX [..1.] Sticker (And Banana) XXX |
    | XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX |
    |---------------------------------------|

    I think that's kind of the point of the finding, that the sticker makes the bot classify the image as something different than would a person.

    - The sticker does not have to cover up the banana (or other subject) to get the image classified as a toaster.
    - The sticker does not have to cover up even a very large percentage of the image to get the image classified as a toaster.
    - The sticker does not have to convincingly depict a toaster to get the image classified as a toaster.

    I don't think that's really clickbait, but rather, a somewhat interesting finding.

    Permit me if you will to put on a moving picture with sound, in your imagination.

    Picture in your head someone showing someone else a rectangle of stiff paper imprinted with an image. In this case, let's say the image is of a man holding, displaying, a bizarrely-colored circle such as that in the banana-toaster image. Now, in your mind's ear, hear that person say to the other, "Hey, look, this is my dad."

    Even if the thought occurs to the other person that "That's not your dad; your dad is a person with a mass much greater than this square of paper and of a different shape and composition," they are not likely to say it. But it probably won't even *occur* to that other person to say "No, that's not your dad, that's a freaking toaster." (Your potential answer, "That's not your dad, that's primarily a sticker, and also some guy," is also on the not likely list.) But the bot? "Dude, that's not your dad, that's a toaster, 90+% probability" every single time.

    • (Score: 2) by fliptop on Thursday January 11 2018, @05:32AM (1 child)

      by fliptop (1666) on Thursday January 11 2018, @05:32AM (#620812) Journal

      But I would think the typical person, when asked to identify an image, would focus on things that occupy the largest portion of the image

      So you're saying it's really a picture of a tabletop w/ a sticker and a banana?

      --
      To be oneself, and unafraid whether right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformity
      • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Thursday January 11 2018, @11:32AM

        by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 11 2018, @11:32AM (#620893) Journal

        So you're saying it's really a picture of a tabletop w/ a sticker and a banana?

        Sigh. Yes, it does appear that that's what I was saying. Probably not, however, what I should have said.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11 2018, @03:05AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11 2018, @03:05AM (#620781)
    Yeah, I mean if you had to pick a SINGLE item of what the photo was about, you might not say banana and say "shiny sticker" instead.

    Heck if you only gave two choices like banana or toaster, many humans might select toaster for "reasons".