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Saturday, June 9, 2012

A film maker named Timo Arnall has recently put together a collection of clips of relatively every day activities seen through the eyes of a robot. The short film, totalling just over 5 minutes, “explores how machines are making sense of the world” through the use of algorithms and calculations which until now were reserved for viewing through sci-fi computer games.




The video

Arnall says in his blog post that one of his main inspirations for making the video was his curiosity as to how these machines discern information and meaning from humans, and he attempts to display this through actions such as recognising human faces and locking onto traffic to provide analytic details of speed, direction and potential accidents.
Generally speaking, the video details relatively primitive imaging similar to the level of quality produced by your average CCTV camera, but this doesn’t stop the producer claiming the visuals of machines can be a beautiful thing. Arnall talks of how the view is “jittery but yet organic” and draws parallels with a humanistic way of interpreting the world, discussing the curious combination of mechanical certainty blended with the unsure nature of human perception.


Possible uses

To a large extent, the video is quite a self indulgent work of art, and Arnall does not try to claim otherwise. However, amongst the pretty colour patterns created on screen by the tracking of moving people, there emerges the hint of some quite useful technology.
The video shows a robotic ability to identify and understand road signs, track toll bridges and provide a form of traffic analysis; all of which could certainly find a very helpful place amongst society.

Today we have cars with cameras able to lock on to the vehicle in front and copy their speed to avoid crashes, but with videos like this you can’t help but wonder whether a future will provide cars also able to read and adhere to road signs – will they warn us when we break the speed limit, if we go the wrong way down a one way street or park somewhere where we’re going to get fined? Perhaps this is even a push in the direction of a completely self driving car – an idea which Google development labs hint is not too far off.
The ability to analyse traffic could also be a welcome addition – how many times have we all followed a SatNav system only to have it lead us into an hour of work time traffic?
For now, perhaps the video is best watched purely out of intrigue and regarded as nothing more than an interesting art, but certain parts at least may well serve to be a prediction for the future.



About the Author:
Rob blogs about all things tech for lading prescription and non-prescription glasses provider Direct Sight.

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