ITMO: The Magic of Neural Networks

First envisioned in the 1950s, neural networks are now all the rage: they’ve taken over the media and even your day-to-day life. After having a few profound conversations with Siri or Alexa, enjoying some perfectly-picked tunes on your personalized radio, or unexpectedly seeing your long-lost friend on your social media feed, you may start to wonder what else is in the power of neural networks.


Basically, a neural network is a series of algorithms mimicking the operations of a human brain to recognize relationships between vast amounts of data. This concept is swiftly gaining popularity in various fields and is broadly used in financial services, translation, and recognition. Exploring the mystery laying behind neural networks, we’ve rounded up a list of some handy-yet-amusing websites for starters:

What is more fun than cats, especially the ones on the net, right? Some time ago, a developer at Uber decided that this world can’t do without a neural network-based website for generating images of cats that aren’t real. Just one click makes the system do the tremendous work of going through and analyzing hundreds, thousands, and even millions of cat pics to create the one and only whose paws have never touched the ground. Isn’t it insane that such a seemingly simple thing can actually give you the chills? If you don’t believe us, check it out for yourself!

If you don’t yet have a knack for painting but aspire to be the next Salvador Dalí, this is your chance. With AutoDraw, all your doodles will magically turn into masterpieces. Did you try to draw a black bird with a predatory gaze but ended up with something more like a Rorschach test? No biggie! This neural network will appreciate your best yet somewhat clumsy attempts, do some fine-tuning to make the perfect even more perfect, and suggest options from its extensive database. You’re bound to be impressed!

Grab the book nearest to your, turn to page 11, find line 5. What does it say? In case this task gets you all stirred up, this is the one for you! When bored or in doubt, stick to the tried and true – and seek answers in books. Based on Google AI algorithms, Talk to Books can answer any question – from what is the meaning of life to what should I eat today – with quotes from books. Let William Shakespeare, Friedrich Nietzsche, or Harper Lee decide for you!

Neural networks have practical uses, too. For example, you can use them for your startup. With the help of Logojoy, you can forget about struggling when choosing the perfect design, color, and fonts for your logo. The only thing you need to do is to tell the net a bit about your business and its specialization, as well as put in your preferences in themes, colors, and symbols. Meanwhile, Business Name Generator will find *the* name for your business based on a few keywords and your wishes. Within a second, your brand will be all set up and ready!

Do neural networks understand natural languages? The answer is yes. Sematris is a brain-training program designed to improve your attention, boost your memory and recall, and strengthen your brain’s associative powers. The program includes a brain-stimulating Tetris and an intensive arcade mode. While the latter is a quick-thinking game in which you’re timed to come up with a word associated with the one in the selection as quickly as possible, Block is a slower-paced game where you have to describe one of the words in the blocks to make them disappear. It’s a great chance to get a unique experience of playing Codenames with your new AI buddy!

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