You May Soon Be Able to Calculate How Many Calories Are in Your Food Porn

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?country_code=US&page_number=1&position=1&safesearch=1&search_language=en&search_source=search_form&search_type=keyword_search&searchterm=food%20porn&sort_method=popular&source=search&timestamp=1433281597&tracking_id=o1ttkNTbyQDvQw1UCMjsIw&use_local_boost=1&version=llv1&page=1&inline=210790618">Joshua Resnick</a>/Shutterstock

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Are you the kind of person who relishes publishing over-saturated photos of your dinner onto Instagram? If so, a new project, reportedly being developed by Google, may soon provide you with yet another interactive activity with your food—other than simply eating it. 

The Guardian reports the prospective project, coined “Im2Calories,” aims to help users calculate the caloric makeup of food photos. Using an artificial-intelligence technology that would “analyze the depth of pixels in an image” it would then figure out “the size and shape” of our meals by subjecting that analysis to various algorithms. After all that? Voila! That caloric content of those perfectly manicured entrees. 

It’s not perfect. Developers say that initially the technology may only be able to correctly measure the calories in a photo 30 percent of the time. But in a recent presentation, Google research scientist Kevin Murphy said that success rate is good enough to attract enough curious users to improve it over time.

Although a spokesperson for Google said the tool is still only in research mode, its potential creation could certainly help people keep tabs on their calorie intake. But is this really effective for losing weight? Research suggests such knowledge does little to impact a person’s food choices.

This might not matter much to Instagram’s crowded food wing, reflected in popular accounts such as You Did Not Eat That and You Wish You Ate This, which is likely to gobble up the calorie counting tool. Just look at the overnight success of Microsoft’s age guessing app. And after all, there is only so much satisfaction the number of likes a perfectly manicured food post can provide a person.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate