05 Aug AI Is the New Normal in Photography
Rapid developments in technology have normalized the intimate role that AI plays in the consumers’ everyday life. Rather than content highlighting how humans are using technology, we are seeing imagery that shows the fluidity between them.
Artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) have largely influenced the way photographers work. Over the years camera manufacturers have added features that assist in shooting under challenging conditions like low-light, or adjust camera settings based on objects in an image. ML has been implemented in various image libraries to help us organize our photos based on who or what is in them. The smartphone camera is becoming instantly responsive to creatives’ needs and has become an extension of the user.
The view that technology can positively affect our daily lives is now widely shared, so the focus is no longer to ‘persuade’ consumers of the benefits. Technology aims to understand our personal preferences to make our everyday lives easier and more comfortable. It’s now expected to support our decisions rather than make them for us. This shift in perspective has allowed brands to explore the capacities of technology, some examples:
– In the fashion industry(*), we’ve seen the rise in wearable technology with companies like Neue and cutecircuit which aim to provide innovative and creative ways of improving our lives.
– In the music industry we’re already used to Spotify tracking our listening habits and suggesting new songs. But VR companies such as Melody take this one step further and allow consumers to gain live music experiences that were once unobtainable.
– Amazon and other online retailers use AI to gather information about your preferences and buying habits. Then, they personalize your shopping experience by suggesting new products tailored to your habits.
Below is an example of such AI-powered recommendations:
Out of all the applications raised by the AI hype wave of the past few years, the area with the most practical use today is arguably photography. The camera is an essential feature of any phone, and AI is our best shot at improving it.
We wear technology on our bodies and use it to share our lives with the world. It’s this continued level of ‘intimacy’ that will affect the way both brands and creators think about visuals. Consumers expect to see images that cinematically show the futuristic connection between humans and the technology they live with every day. Interaction between the subject and technological components within the image will continue to become more intricate and personal.
An example of emerging AI in Photography
A company called Meero makes photographs for real estate, food and other commercial uses. They developed a cutting-edge algorithm, inspired by how the human brain works. Can an algorithm perform as well as a professional photographer when executing an aesthetic, nuanced, complex task? Meero thinks it can. They propose that gradient-based learning is the solution.
In their software, they use a deep neural network they believe mimics the way the brain works. It makes use of the errors the network’s neurons output and then computes its gradient using convex optimization methods. They draw from 25 million photographs in their database. By then, using the chain-rule to correct errors from the end to the beginning of the network, and repeating the operation millions of times, Meero’s proprietary deep learning algorithm performs as well or faster than a professional photographer, they say. The goal is to enhance photographs for commercial sale.
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