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Frank Said What? camera app describes your photos like it sees them

Are you a social media enthusiast who can’t stop uploading photos onto Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter? Do you find it hard to come up with witty little captions to go along with your perfectly filtered pictures so your followers think you’re super cool and funny? Hey, it gets exhausting, we know. So if you need a little break from formulating clever captions each time you upload a picture, make use of Frank Said What? the iOS camera app for an interesting take on what artificial intelligence thinks your caption should be: as literal as possible.

Send any photo through Frank Said What? and the app will conjure up a caption that either describes or comments on what it sees in the picture. The captions are often silly, snarky, and unintentionally funny and ironic. If you want to post your own caption, you can do so on top of what Frank says before upload the picture — complete with Frank’s caption — onto your desired social network. It’s hipster without the “trying too hard,” and impressive that a robot app can decipher your photo that well. And if it doesn’t, it’s also funny to see how a robot interprets a picture of you kissing your girlfriend as “Man can haz hamburger?”

“The secret to Frank’s magnetism? Instead of randomly assigning pre-written captions, Frank looks at every photo and writes an individual response,” writes the blog post by Terrarium, the app’s developer. “Even we are surprised from time to time by the things that Frank says. The end result is the perfect mash-up of Instagram and your favorite meme.”

It’s so impressively accurate that we have a hard time believing a robot is able to individually write all these captions. Not all captions are great, but most correctly refer to the right objects in the photo. So if you’re one of those who like snapping photos of strange things witnessed on the walk to work, send it Frank’s way and see what he thinks. However, be aware that Frank does take quite some time to process each picture, so this might not the best app if you want instant results. Nothing good comes without a little waiting, right?

Either way, it’s an astoundingly cool approach to robo-object classification technology, and a silly method of making fun of your friend’s Instagram photos that show them in a group looking real fly when Frank just thinks they’re a bunch of “friends standing in corner strategically poised.” Zing!

Frank Said What? is currently free for a limited time on the App Store.


Our commentor Kat Dawson has brought to our attention that the technology is in fact, not artificial intelligence, and instead a paid service to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. What this means is information you upload onto the app gets shipped over to writers at the Turk who send back captions you’re anticipating. This makes sense as to why they’re so accurate, but we still don’t see how the app can monetize without charging for the app. Yet, anyway.

(Thanks, Kat)