Advances in technology result in societal transformations. Paradoxically, advances in technology often result in creation of new problems, while solving some existing problems. This is very clear in several areas being influenced by rapid advances in computing.
Computer vision and multimedia are the fields that did not exist 50 years ago. When computer vision started, challenge was to find enough computing power to process and analyze a crude (from today’s standard) black and white image. The applications that motivated this research were manufacturing, robotics and health care. It was difficult and expensive to get an image into a computer and then find resources to store and process even one simple image. And the resources to capture and process images required Millions of $. Only a few ‘prestigeous’ research laboratories could afford to develop practical computer vision systems.
How have the times changed!!!
Now we have Billions of photos – soon to be counted in Trillions – on the Web for everyone to see and use. My $150 camera can detect smile on the face of the person in the view and then only take photo. People are talking about augmented reality systems by analyzing pictures in your mobile phone camera and processing it before you can even see it to pull the information related to what the camera is seeing so you really don’t need to see the picture – you can directly see the information. And the applications?? Well, your imagination is the limit. Its not only what one eye could do, but it is what a Web of eyes and knowledge sources could do.
As an active researcher in the field I can not help but ask: Are we thinking as if we are living in 2010 while addressing research challenges or are we still living in 1980s?