Need a memorable profile picture? Use this new MIT algorithm

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When you say that a photograph is burned into your memory, it turns out you’re not really exaggerating. According to new research from scientists at MIT, certain photographs have a specific sort of staying power that makes them incredibly memorable. Now, the team has created an artificial intelligence system that can actually predict how well your brain will retain a certain image, and which aspects of it will leave the deepest impression. It’s all thanks to deep learning and a pretty advanced algorithm, enabling a computer to tell how memorable a photo in the same way your brain does.

To try the technology out for yourself, simply head over to the LaMem Demo website, where you can upload a photo and determine its memorability score (as assigned by the algorithm, and by extension, your brain). The tool was created after researchers conducted a crowd-sourced experiment involving  5,000 online participants, each of whom were given a set of photos to analyze and then asked to press a key when they came across a familiar image. This data, as well as the particular features of the familiar pictures, was then translated into a memorability score between 0 and 1.

“Understanding memorability can help us make systems to capture the most important information, or, conversely, to store information that humans will most likely forget,” said lead study author Aditya Khosla. “It’s like having an instant focus group that tells you how likely it is that someone will remember a visual message.”

Scientists are hopeful that the information gleaned from this research may one day aid in better understanding, and perhaps augmenting, the ability of the human brain to form memories.

“While deep-learning has propelled much progress in object recognition and scene understanding, predicting human memory has often been viewed as a higher-level cognitive process that computer scientists will never be able to tackle,” said research scientist Aude Oliva, who served as a senior investigator for the study. “Well, we can, and we did!”

So if you’re looking for a way to reorganize your Tinder photos, this may just be your saving grace.

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