For more than 30 years, the Where’s Waldo book series has been an essential part of the American childhood, as countless kids have spent countless hours trying to locate the titular bespectacled man hiding in a sea of people who are not Waldo. Being able to locate Waldo quickly required real a great deal of skill, as the entire search was a race against the clock to see who could be the first to find Waldo and prove that they were the superior searcher among their peers. However, even the best Waldo seeker is unlikely to be any match for There’s Waldo, a robot that can find Waldo in less than five seconds.
There’s Waldo was created by ad agency Redpepper and uses facial recognition to quickly scan every face on the page using a machine-learning algorithm and in a matter of seconds, it is able to spot Waldo’s face in the crowd, no matter how well hidden he is to the human eye. And just to show off a bit, the robot has a tiny hand that it uses to point to Waldo after it has located him.
According to Redpepper, There’s Waldo boasts more than 95 percent accuracy despite only having a few seconds to figure out where Waldo is. Matt Reed, a technologist at Red Pepper, told The Verge that There’s Waldo only needed to study “62 distinct Waldo heads and 45 Waldo heads plus body” on Google images in order to have this level of speed and accuracy in its never-ending search for Waldo.
So what’s next for algorithm-based robots playing beloved kid’s board games? Will a robot be able to win Guess Who in less than three guesses? Will they be able to solve the murder in Clue long before any human has a plausible theory? Only time will tell.