FEATURE4 October 2017

Brain training

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Features Impact Technology

Automated image processing could be getting smarter, with scientists teaching machines to think more like humans. By Bronwen Morgan


Communication is, in many ways, shifting from words to images. The ease of creating – and deleting – images via smartphones and other portable digital devices means that more than one trillion photos are now shared across Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat every year.  

The content of these images is of great interest to brands, because it can offer insight into the lives and aspirations of current and potential customers. 

As this trend – and the amount of imagery – grows, there is more and more demand for automation of image processing. While machines are becoming more sophisticated, they are still a long way behind humans when it comes to tasks such as object recognition.

Not only is the pattern of errors made by current algorithms apparently quite different from those of humans performing the same task, but the algorithms are also reportedly easy to fool. Research has shown that, by changing an image – in a way imperceptible to ...