It is difficult to understand how something so obvious has evaded us for so long, but computer scientists are beginning to develop visual technologies that will enhance artificial intelligence. Fei-Fei Li, who directs the the artificial intelligence lab at Stanford University, observed that in the Cambrian Era a variety of species surged because they adapted eyes. Visual stimuli allows beings to take in their environment, name objects, navigate obstacles, sense predators, seek prey and, most essentially, to learn. By empowering artificial intelligence technologies with cameras, computer scientists are on the verge of creating another surge of evolution, this time in the tech realm.


The idea is a tad bit creepy, but powering inanimate objects with cameras will assist them in data gathering. This visual data can then be used to improve user experiences across a range of industries. TechCrunch contributor Evan Nisselson provides an example of this future tech in action within the e-commerce sphere. If your home is replete with cameras that are able to provide an in-home digital assistant with visual data, then the assistant can tell you when the back pocket of your pants is wearing out and then, when prompted, can order a new pair of pants. Think of it like the Amazon Dash button only there is no need to push anything. The assistant will be able to assess a visual scenario and arrive at a conclusion, much like a human would.


Like most technologies, consumer applications are fairly predictable. Visual data put to use within industrial and business realms will most likely provide more innovative developments than clothes shopping. Considering that cameras will be capable of seeing more than the human eye can capture, such as thermal activity, x-rays, ultrasound, white light and other visual data that goes unnoticed by the human eye, then visual intelligence holds the power to fill in human visual gaps. The result will no doubt increase manufacturing productivity and business analytics in unpredictable ways.