You may have heard about China authorities’ policy of installing video surveillance cameras in cities that can instantly recognise every person passing by. For those of you who watched the Netflix serie Black Mirror, it echoes strangely to many episodes where the ethical aftermaths of facial recognition make us realise the potential dangers of such technologies.
You may think that it’s only happening in China, but you are actually facing this new technology everyday, probably without really noticing it. Let us understand first how it works, and then how it can be used to improve both business services and quality of life.
Image recognition is one the main domain of Artificial Intelligence, and not the easiest one to develop. The idea is to teach your computer to see, meaning to analyse the content of a picture or a video and then categorises what is on it (a person, an animal, a car…). Our brain is constantly doing it naturally, but coding it on a computer is way more complex. That is why we use Deep Learning algorithms that is based on the same logic as the neural network of our brain ; the algorithm is able to develop connections by itself.
Once your code is written, you have to train your algorithm with data. For instance, if you develop an algorithm that can tell who the person is on your family’s pictures, you will put in your computer as many pictures of your family members as you can, and each time precising who is on the picture. The more data you give to train your algorithm, the more precise it will be.
By the way, Google and many others companies frequently use you to collect such data to train their algorithms, without noticing it to you. Every time you have to confirm that “You’re not a robot” by clicking on the pictures that contains bus or traffic lights, you help them by giving the information “ this picture has a bus on it”.
Now that you understand how it works, let us discover how it can help businesses.
Security Industry is the first sector developing this technology. Whether it be an office, a smartphone, bank or home, security measures are an integral part in very platforms. Netatmo, a smart indoor camera has a feature that starts recording video only when the system detects any unknown faces.
With the development of self-driving cars, manufacturers are developing and implementing these technologies to permit the car to analyse its environment (pedestrians, cars...) , and react according to what it “sees”.
The healthcare industry is at the edge of a major step, with Microsurgical procedures now powered by robots use computer vision and image recognition techniques. Real-time emotion detection can also be used to detect the emotions of the patients to analyze how they are feeling during the time they are hospitalized or when they are about to get discharged.
Even search engines, powered by Google or Bing are evolving with the development of image recognition. This technology helps providing best results. Some retailers start using it like Marks and Spencer which have recently launched visual search finder on its store.
This is only the beginning of what Artificial Intelligence can offer. We may and must be concerned of how this technology is used and by whom, but should also be enthusiastic by keeping in mind the great progresses we will make thanks to it.
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