Excerpt via New York Times
Until the past few years, just about all cameras — whether smartphones or point-and-shoots or CCTV surveillance — were like eyes disconnected from any intelligence. They captured anything you put in front of them, but they didn’t understand a whit about what they were seeing. Even basic facts about the world eluded them. It’s crazy, for instance, that in 2018, your smartphone doesn’t automatically detect when you’ve taken naked pictures of yourself and offer to house them under an extra-special layer of security.
But all this is changing. There’s a new generation of cameras that understand what they see. They’re eyes connected to brains, machines that no longer just see what you put in front of them, but can act on it creating intriguing and sometimes eerie possibilities.
At first, these cameras will promise to let us take better pictures, to capture moments that might not have been possible with every dumb camera that came before. That’s the pitch Google is making with Clips, a new camera that went on sale on Tuesday. It uses so-called machine learning to automatically take snapshots of people, pets and other things it finds interesting.
Others are using artificial intelligence to make cameras more useful. You’ve heard how Apple’s newest iPhone uses face recognition to unlock your phone. A start-up called Lighthouse AI wants to do something similar for your home, using a security camera that adds a layer of visual intelligence to the images it sees. When you mount its camera in your entryway, it can constantly analyze the scene, alerting you if your dog walker doesn’t show up, or if your kids aren’t home by a certain time after school.
It doesn’t take long to imagine the useful and very creepy possibilities of cameras that can decipher the world. Digital cameras brought about a revolution in photography, but until now, it was only a revolution of scale: Thanks to microchips, cameras got smaller and cheaper, and we began carrying them everywhere.
Now, A.I. will create a revolution in how cameras work, too. Smart cameras will let you analyze pictures with prosecutorial precision, raising the specter of a new kind of surveillance not just by the government but by everyone around you, even your loved ones at home.
Image courtesy of nytimes.com