Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Emerging Technology from the arXiv

A View from Emerging Technology from the arXiv

Best of 2014: The Revolutionary Technique That Quietly Changed Machine Vision Forever

In September, computer scientists revealed that machines are now almost as good as humans at object recognition; and the turning point occurred in 2012.

  • January 2, 2015

In space exploration, there is the Google Lunar X Prize for placing a rover on the lunar surface. In medicine, there is the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize for developing a Star Trek-like device for diagnosing disease. There is even an incipient Artificial Intelligence X Prize for developing an AI system capable of delivering a captivating TED talk.

In the world of machine vision, the equivalent goal is to win the ImageNet Large-Scale Visual Recognition Challenge. This is a competition that has run every year since 2010 to evaluate image recognition algorithms. (It is designed to follow-on from a similar project called PASCAL VOC which ran from 2005 until 2012).

Contestants in this competition have two simple tasks. Presented with an image of some kind, the first task is to decide whether it contains a particular type of object or not. For example, a contestant might decide that there are cars in this image but no tigers. The second task is to find a particular object and draw a box around it. For example, a contestant might decide that there is a screwdriver at a certain position with a width of 50 pixels and a height of 30 pixels.

Oh, and one other thing: there are 1,000 different categories of objects ranging from abacus to zucchini, and contestants have to scour a database of over 1 million images to find every instance of each object. Tricky!

Computers have always had trouble identifying objects in real images so it is not hard to believe that the winners of these competitions have always performed poorly compared to humans.

But all that changed in 2012 when a team from the University of Toronto in Canada entered an algorithm called SuperVision, which swept the floor with the opposition.

Continued…

AI is here.
Own what happens next at EmTech Digital 2019.

Register now
More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.