Most of the original AI programs developed by computer science experts in the 20th century were designed to play games. In fact, the very first AI program ever developed played a game of checkers, called draughts in the U.K. Playing games is as human as making music and telling jokes. People like to have fun, so it makes sense that some of our first priorities in creating artificial intelligence was to create digital tools capable of playing our favorite games.
After more than half a century of development, AI has dozens of applications beyond games — but there are still plenty of AI programs built purely for human enjoyment and fun. What’s more, many of these tools have the potential to teach users, AI engineers, and executives about the power and scope of the tech. As proof, here are some of the most fun AI tools available online and what they can show us about AI:
A surprisingly addictive word association game, Semantris showcases AI’s ability to learn and understand human language. In the game, the player must identify words as quickly as possible using related words or phrases, and in doing so, the player teaches the program more about the relationships between words and concepts. This seemingly simple game is an exceedingly powerful example of how AI can process and utilize natural human language.
Unlike other AI image generators, which tend to blend and transform images uploaded by users, DALL-E mini creates images from scratch. Incredibly complex, the AI tool must interpret a natural language prompt, evaluate images containing different components and produce a set of entirely unique images. While the program is not perfect — it struggles startlingly with human faces, for example — it does demonstrate that even impressively advanced AI tools are becoming available in small, convenient packages. Perhaps even more interestingly, DALL-E shows that AI can manage some of the most creative tasks, like creating art.
Humans are hardwired to recognize faces — so much so that we often see faces where they are not. However, computers do not have such an innate skill; in fact, as DALL-E demonstrates, computers often struggle to assemble the most basic facial features. Fortunately, AI developers have been working toward improving machines’ ability to recognize faces and identify different features, and Deep Nostalgia is an excellent example of their efforts. This AI tool animates photos, bringing still pictures to life with astonishing realism. The potential for facial recognition tools is vast, and executives can learn about the impact of such tools in online artificial intelligence courses.
AI has been capable of creating written works for some time — much to the chagrin of Google, whose website ranking tools try to disincentivize bot-generated content. However, the style and tone of content created by AI programs tend to be more or less identical, with stilted language that doesn’t usually appeal to human readers.
Cyborg Writer shows that the stiff, unnatural language of AI text is not compulsory. This AI tool takes in snippets of text and mimics different writing styles, from the formal texts of the Supreme Court to the creative cadence of Taylor Swift. Like other fun AI tools, Cyborg Writer is limited in how much content it can create, and its messages are not always coherent. However, it could inform major updates to text-generating bots and impact natural language synthesis in the future.
Voice processing and speech recognition have improved by leaps and bounds over the past decade, thanks in no small part to AI-driven digital assistants like Alexa and Cortana. Perhaps among the most exciting developments in this AI field is the ability of AI tools to distinguish between different human voices. The FreddieMeter, created by the Mercury Phoenix Trust and YouTube Music, compares a user’s singing voice to Freddie Mercury’s based on resemblances in melody, pitch, and timbre. This silly AI tool demonstrates how advanced voice processing has become.
There are dozens of enterprise AI solutions designed to eliminate inefficiency, improve productivity, and drive success. Yet, businesses can certainly make use of more creative AI tools. These fun AI programs might serve to inspire business leaders to welcome more diverse AI programs into business operations — or they might merely offer fun examples of the direction of AI development.