It's the holy grail of image databases, and it looks like Google might be getting closer to making a breakthrough. For years now, researchers have attempted to tackle the thorny task of creating an algorithm that can identify (and then describe) the contents of a photograph without user intervention. It's one of those tasks that is so easy for people that we almost don't think about it, and yet it turns out to be incredibly challenging for a computer.
Consider the image below, courtesy of Google, for example. For most…
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