Watch Microsoft’s new AI bot struggle to interpret famous works of art

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Here’s CaptionBot’s take on Dalí.
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Microsoft

Microsoft has bounced back from its “Tay” bot disaster, and released a new artificial-intelligence experiment to the world.

CaptionBot is a bot that will automatically create captions for any photos you upload, and is the latest in a series of periodic releases from Microsoft’s AI division to show off its technical prowess in novel ways.

Here’s how it works. You can upload photos to it, and it will tell you what it thinks is in them using natural language. “I think it’s a baseball player holding a bat on a field,” it says in response to one example photo.

We decided to have some fun with CaptionBot, and asked it to interpret some famous works of art. The results were sometimes hilarious, sometimes accurate, and sometimes just plain bizarre.

Here’s what happened when we put CaptionBot through an impromptu Art History course.


I’m just wondering who the stuffed animal is.

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Microsoft

Yes, yes it is.

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Microsoft

Someone is not a modern art fan.

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Microsoft

That is very deep.

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Microsoft

But how do you … feel about it.

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Microsoft

This one was just for fun.

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Microsoft

Sitting at a cellphone, contemplating.

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Microsoft

You should have more confidence in yourself. You nailed it.

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Microsoft

The age-old question, what is that emoji thinking?

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Microsoft

Not exactly, but almost technically accurate.

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Microsoft

This is a pretty trippy response.

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Microsoft

Yes, but it’s so much more than that.

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Microsoft

Wow, 100%! No one likes a show off.

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Microsoft

Okay, seems like you finally got the hang of it. Your lesson is over.

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Microsoft