Research on the same topic was published earlier this year by Google, but previous work never proved the method could be used beyond tiny 64×64 pixel images. This work is not limited by the size of the file.

While it’s easy to think of the best compression as the one that makes the file smallest, subjective human perception plays a huge part. If something looks weird to an end user, the compression failed. The Google team points out that there’s no standardized metric or test for this (unlike Silicon Valley‘s fictional Weissman score), which makes it difficult to measure the network’s efficiency.

So far it’s not anything up to par with Pied Piper’s compression, which theoretically makes files so small that their size is negligible, but Google’s work proves that the show’s idea isn’t so far-fetched.

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