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How is AI being used for photography and videography?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere, and if we haven't yet got an AI on our Smartphone, we probably soon will be. Is it all just marketing hubris, or is AI in a Smartphone - and particularly, in its camera - something we should all aspire to have? Thanks to user-generated content (UGC), our use of video and photography has dramatically increased, resulting in a more challenging task of tracking and categorizing all this unstructured data. Image and video recognition, or computer vision, has become a broad category encompassing many different use cases.
The ability for a computer to understand human speech is a form of AI, and it's been creeping onto cameras for the last few years.
Smartphones have been offering Google Now and Siri for a few years, while Alexa is entering homes via the Amazon Echo speakers. Action cameras have jumped on that bandwagon in recent years, with the GoPro action cameras and even dash cams able to take actions when you utter simple phrases such as 'start video', 'take photo' and so on.
It all makes sense, especially for action cameras where hands-free operation makes them much easier to use but is it really AI? Technically, it is, but until recently voice-activated gadgets were simply referred to as 'smart'. Some now allow you to say quite specific things such as "take slow-motion video" or take low-light photo's, but an AI camera needs to do a little more than that be worthy of the name.
How AI is helping you search?
Imagine if you could take a couple pictures of what you have in mind and send that to the search engine to help you find what you are looking for. Using image-based AI, the search would break out the different components of the image and allow you to choose which aspects of it are most important. As a woman, maybe you already own a nice dress and have a matching purse but want to find a pair of shoes that incorporate a little of both, does such a shoe exist? With an image-based search, you could find out quickly. Maybe it was a little black bow on the purse that you like to incorporate, the image AI picks up on the brand of the purse you have, not because you stated what it is, but because the database can recognize which brand it is, so it has an idea of the type of brand and budget you want in your new shoe.
More targeted ads
Imagine going through some Instagram feeds of your favourite extreme athletes and then seeing ads featuring the shoes they wear. That subtle, subconscious recognition that you've seen those shoes before helps advertisers increase brand awareness and engagement. Start-ups in the sports marketing and social media world are using computer vision to provide more personalized ads to consumers while increasing the effectiveness of ad spending for sponsors.
Help with sports review
An early stage start-up is using computer vision to help sports coaches review playbacks of their games to help with coaching players. The manual process of reviewing videos can now be automated by allowing the AI service to jump through the entire game, identify specific players, and send them a custom video containing all the clips relevant to them. This is a game-changer, literally, for coaches around the world and their teams.
Use of video and AI
Image and video-based AI has many use cases as you can see in just a handful of examples above. With video, it is the ability to extract information from a video, or to be able to insert content intelligently into a video. There are numerous additional examples that can be used in public safety or by government agencies as well.
Advertising in videos
With more product placement taking place, advertisers can insert their product into "placeholders" dynamically. Instead of being limited to a specific advertiser, the video content producer can leave areas in their video that easily incorporate an inserted image. Depending on the geography, language, and demographics of the viewer, AI can dynamically insert an ad into a video that has already been produced. Or, it can combine multiple videos on the fly depending on the audience. This enables a very powerful, localized, and personalized approach to providing more native-based advertising.
AI seems set to change how we take photos. Not only that, but it could soon take charge of editing and curating our existing photography libraries too. It may be over-hyped and often a shorthand for what is nothing more than the latest, greatest advanced software, but AI is going to do something incredible for photographers; it's going to free-up more of your time so you can take more, and better, photographs.