Hopefully, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is being crafted today primarily for noble purposes like helping to cure disease and gaining a deeper understanding of human behavior. One researcher at Google, though, is harnessing the power of technology for something a little bit more social media savvy: determining the calorie count of food simply through pictures.

Kevin P. Murphya scientist who specializes in algorithms—has developed a new tool called Im2Calories that will “be capable of counting the number of calories in every item on a person’s plate simply by examining a photo.”

The strangest part? The photo doesn’t even need to be hi-res, so feel free to shoot from the hip or upload old, grainy photos if you’re so inclined.

While speaking with Popular Science, Murphy admits that the system might not get the calorie count exactly right on the first try, but will learn through repeated efforts and improve as more people use the tool and share their data. You know, like a human.


While there are no firm product plans at this stage, the concept of a tool that will consistently remind you that your beautifully styled and well-lit photo of carbonara wasn’t calorie-free seems like a double-edged sword.

“We don’t have more to say at this point on whether or how this might make its way into some future product(s), because we’d really just be speculating,” a Google spokesman told CNET.

So rejoice in enjoying your delicious food photos without any pesky “calories” attached for a little while longer, kids—but know that, eventually, the robots are coming.

[via Popular Science]