What computers see through their 3 billion artificial eyes

first_imgRemember that part in Terminator When you were looking through Ahnold’s eyes, as if you were inside the T-800? That movie was made a long time ago, but that scene might have been more prescient then its creators could have known. It might not come to a shock to you, but computers don’t see like you or I do. They are programmed to recognize something, like movement or a change in brightness, and then, if the programmers wants, they are given parameters by which they can visualize what they “see”. This information is on the computer, but it’s for the benefit of the user — it lets us know what the computer is and is not picking up. The video above is a wonderful, haunting look at how something we’ve designed can make the world we recognize seem so foreign and complex. The Robot Readable World walks through the recording systems of a number of computers, robots, and surveillance systems. Its name is quite accurate as it’s an account of how robots (essentially computers) read what we program and outfit them to be able to read. Whether that’s the density of traffic on a highway, moving objects in a parking lot, the route of a self-driving car, or any number of other things, it’s an amazing look at how robots record data about their surroundings, process that data, and then visualize it so that humans can have a better understanding of the huge amount of numbers they are crunching. That last part really is the key here: the video shows us what the robots see, but these displays are for our own benefit. The computers are more than happy with the 1s and 0s behind the graphics, these representations of the data are simply for the benefit of our clumsy, mammalian brains. The video was made as a response to this article, which is well worth reading, and was assembled using different clips available on YouTube. Some of the devices featured in the video include a vehicle tracking system, a parking lot camera, an IriSyS thermal imaging camera, a demo of iOnRoad, and a few different eye and face tracking programs. Vimeo via Boing Boing[Note: The “3 billions artificial eyes” is a reference to Kevin Kelly’s excellent What Technology Wants, which the Robot-Readable World post quotes.]last_img

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