If you’re not sure what you’re looking at when you look at the pictures below, don’t worry, you’re probably not alone. But rest assured, your eyes don’t need testing and your screen doesn’t need fixing. Because these bizarre images, created by users via Russian website Ostagram, are the product of an art technique known as Inceptionism, where images are combined using neural networks to generate a single mind-bending picture.
A neural network is a computational model based on the structure of a biological neural network. In other words, it works like a human brain. Conventional software operates within strict parameters but artificial neural networks have the ability to “learn” by being fed more and more data over time.
The images are possible thanks to DeepDream software, which finds and enhances patterns in images by a process known as algorithmic pareidolia. It was pioneered by Google and was originally code-named Inception after the film of the same name. And looking at these pictures, it’s easy to see why.