Zack Nado wrote the best machine learning application I’ve seen so far: a neural network architecture that generates new Pusheen pictures.

Image result for pusheen
This is an orginal Pusheen picture.

In his blog, Zack describes his generative adversarial network (GAN) , a special type of machine learning architecture where two neural networks try to fool each other. Zack first gave the discriminator network some real Pusheen images, so it gets an idea of what Pusheen looks like. Next, the generator network gets a bunch of random numbers so it can generate completely new (fake) images. These generated images are then fed back into the discriminator, so it knows what generated images look like. Zack repeated this process several hundred thousand times, so he obtained a generator network that’s great at making new Pusheen images which the discriminator (nearly) can’t dinstinguish from the original, real ones. Below is the learning process of the generator network visualized:
Samples output by the generator network. It learns distinctive features of “real” Pusheen (e.g., tail, eyes, ears) over time [original]

In the end, the generated images are very much like the real Pusheen. Zack added an interactive module (using Tensorflow.js) to the blog so you can generate some Pusheens yourself. (it didn’t work for me though…) On a final note, Zack wrote the orginal blog both in plain English, for non-experts, and in jargon, for the more experienced data scientists. I highly recommend you read either one of those versions!

Some of the Pusheen’s generated by Zack’s GAN [original]