Grumpy Cat is also likely to live on in one particular area of technology: artificial intelligence.
Images spread across the internet are often collected by researchers and used to train artificial intelligence algorithms to do tasks like recognize people or animals in images, or even learn how to generate wholly new images of people or animals.
There are millions of images of Grumpy Cat online, so it should come as no surprise that they appear to be influencing the faux cats generated by at least one AI system. The cat could show up in datasets containing images from the internet — and in results that emerge from these datasets — shaping AI in a grouchy way for years to come.
These days, searching Google for “Grumpy Cat” returns nearly 73 million results, many of which are photos. Grumpy Cat proliferated online, often as memes posted with big, blocky white text that say everything from “Come back … I haven’t finished insulting you yet” to simply “No.” There are also countless pictures on the internet of Grumpy-Cat inspired merchandise: pillows, shirts, mugs, slippers and more.
Shane spent time poring over thousands of the results, and she told CNN Business that she was surprised she didn’t have to look through many to find images suspiciously similar to the iconic cat. In a couple thousand images, for example, she found at least two dozen.
“We’re not talking wall-to-wall Grumpy Cat, but you don’t have to look very long,” she told CNN Business.
Some of the manufactured Grumpy Cats even included what looked like garbled meme text: the right kind of font (white with a black outline), but in what didn’t look quite like real words.
Shane didn’t go through all the images in the dataset to confirm Grumpy Cat is in there, and if so how often, but she expects there are plenty of images of the famous cat included. (Researchers who put together the dataset did not immediately return requests for comment.) And while it’s unknown just how many images of Grumpy Cat are in AI datasets — or out on the internet at large, for that matter — Shane expects Grumpy Cat will be in plenty of them, given the cat’s popularity and the propensity for AI researchers to share and reuse datasets.
“A little part of her could be in AI for years and years,” she said.