Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Machine vision going mainstream?

Did you see the New York Times on January 1st? If so, perhaps you read “Computers That See You and Keep Watch Over You.” This fascinating article paints a picture of where machine vision is heading, as it steps out of the factory and into everyday life.

The writer, Steve Lohr, begins by outlining a number of ways in which intelligent surveillance systems could be of benefit – identifying possible fights in prisons and school corridors, for example – before introducing readers to the idea of facial recognition software that builds on the tools available in Flickr and Picasa. The technology won’t be new to machine vision users but the article might prompt some thinking about new business opportunities.

The NYT piece wraps up by hinting at some of the darker implications of the technology. This is something I’ve touched on in previous musings, and I think it’s a serious issue that deserves wider debate. Kudos to Steve Lohr for raising the subject.

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