Definition

image recognition

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Image recognition, in the context of machine vision, is the ability of software to identify objects, places, people, writing and actions in images. Computers can use machine vision technologies in combination with a camera and artificial intelligence software to achieve image recognition.

Image recognition is used to perform a large number of machine-based visual tasks, such as labeling the content of images with meta-tags, performing image content search and guiding autonomous robots, self-driving cars and accident avoidance systems.

While human and animal brains recognize objects with ease, computers have difficulty with the task. Software for image recognition requires deep machine learning. Performance is best on convolutional neural net processors as the specific task otherwise requires massive amounts of power for its compute-intensive nature. Image recognition algorithms can function by use of comparative 3D models, appearances from different angles using edge detection or by components. Image recognition algorithms are often trained on millions of pre-labeled pictures with guided computer learning.

Current and future applications of image recognition include smart photo libraries, targeted advertising, the interactivity of media, accessibility for the visually impaired and enhanced research capabilities. GoogleFacebookMicrosoftApple and Pinterest are among the many companies that are investing significant resources and research into image recognition and related applications. Privacy concerns over image recognition and similar technologies are controversial as these companies can pull a large volume of data from user photos uploaded to their social media platforms.

 

This was last updated in May 2017

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