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Computer Ranks Most Memorable Game of Thrones Characters

Which character comes to mind first when you think of Game of Thrones?

Think of a character from Game of Thrones! Who comes to the forefront? Tyrion? Jon Snow?

A group of MIT researchers from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) fed some images of the cast of characters into their Large-Scale Image Memorability algorithm to find out where the cast ranked on a scale of 1 to 10.

So, which ones did the computer deem the most memorable?

1. Daenerys Targaryen — 9.42

2. Margaery Tyrell — 9.07

3. Tywin Lannister — 8.81

4. Jaime Lannister/Cersei Lannister/Bronn — 8.78

5. Sansa Stark — 8.7

7. Jon Snow/Ned Stark — 8.61

8. Gregor Clegane — 8.22

9. Tyrion Lannister — 8.15

10. Joffrey Baratheon — 7.25

These results are by no means indicative of a character’s popularity, more related to what makes the image of these people memorable. You see, a while ago researchers from CSAIL wanted to know what made a person remember a photo. This Game of Thrones test was just a smaller (more fun) piece of a larger body of research focused on teaching a computer to identify facial patterns and have it learn to remember photos as a human would.

In order to give the computer the data it needed to make these kinds of decisions, the researchers compiled a database of more than 20,000 images, which has reached over 60,000 since the original study back in 2013. (You can also upload your own to see how memorable a photo of yourself could be.) The images were then awarded a “memorability score,” based on the ability of human participants to recall the pictures in a game where you have to flip over cards and remember where they were. The software was then able to dissect trends in what made some images easier to recall than others.

CSAIL Ph.D. student Aditya Khosla said:

“As humans, we tend to remember and forget the same pictures and faces as each other, which suggests that memorable images have features that automatically make them easier to remember.”

In the case of Westerosi characters, blond females are more likely to come to mind. However, the most memorable faces tend to be ones we’re familiar with.

Principal research scientist Aude Oliva said:

“If we tag a person with familiarity, because we think this is a face we have seen before, we have a tendency to like it more, and, for instance, to think the person is more trustworthy.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images


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