The war over artificial intelligence will be won with visual data

Major technology companies and new startups are at war over having the most valuable artificial intelligence and at the core of this war is having unique high quality visual data.

This battle will be won by owning the connected camera. The majority of the data our brains analyze is visual, and therefore the majority of the data needed for artificial intelligence to have human (or better than human) skills, will rely on the ability for computers to translate high quality visual data.

One of the business sectors that will be revolutionized by artificial intelligence is e-commerce. The Amazon’s Echo Look is a smart stake in the ground for Amazon. Adding a camera to their Echo validates a prediction of mine from last year called the Internet of Eyes which enables all inanimate objects to see. Inanimate objects with cameras enable companies to own the first step in gathering the data for computer vision and artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze.

To date, Amazon has mostly relied on their customers searching on their website for products and clothes to buy. The Look is their first step to empowering their customers to buy products via Selfies instead, and it provides the company with trends of visual data so their artificial intelligence algorithms can learn our favorite clothes, styles and products.

Their core goal is to capture unique and proprietary visual data of their customers so their computers can learn as much as possible about us through the Selfies we capture via the Echo Look. This helps them make our shopping experience even more frictionless.

Fei-Fei Li, Director of the Stanford University Artificial Intelligence Lab and Chief Scientist AI/ML at Google Cloud says “More than 500 million years ago, vision became the primary driving force of evolution’s ‘big bang’, the Cambrian Explosion, which resulted in explosive speciation of the animal kingdom. 500 million years later, AI technology is at the verge of changing the landscape of how humans live, work, communicate and shape our environment.”

“As nature discovered early on, vision is one of the most powerful secret weapons of an intelligent animal to navigate, survive, interact and change the complex world it lives in. The same is true for intelligence systems. More than 80% of the web is data in pixel format (photos, videos, etc.), there are more smartphones with cameras than the number of people on earth, and every device, every machine and every inch of our space is going to be powered by smart sensors,” says Fei-Fei. “The only path to build intelligent machines is to enable it with powerful visual intelligence, just like what animals did in evolution. While many are searching for the ‘killer app’ of vision, I’d say, vision is the ‘killer app’ of AI and computing.”

Society is driven by it’s narcissistic desire to capture Selfies to visually share what they are wearing, eating, where they are on vacation and who they are with. The main reason people make pictures is to visually communicate.

E-commerce is also driven online by photos and videos today and in the future it will be driven by inanimate objects with cameras leveraging computer vision and artificial intelligence.

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