Computer Vision and the Visual Society
Yet, of all the EASy courses, I find that Computer Vision may be having the biggest impact on my everyday life. CV is slowly turning the AI corner, away from Model-Act-Plan architectures, and coming around to biologically inspired methods (surprise?). Vision is considered one of many senses belonging to an embodied agent, used to to accomplish goals. Vision evolves not to completely reproduce the outside environment internally, but in specific structures useful to survival. JJ Gibson’s The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception focus on a functional and active vision.
For me, the concept of vision as an affordance has completely changed the way I look at things everyday. Visual sense used to be my primary understanding of immediate reality, over the other senses and more subtle understandings. In an almost spiritual overthrow, vision is no longer the basis of reality. It’s a perception, processed for a purpose and sometimes wrong, that reflects one aspect of reality that’s proven extremely useful for evolutionary survival.
Beyond avoiding obstacles and finding food, humans in society have layered meaning onto visual sense. From where I sit now, objects-walls-bottles-tshirts-buses are modified from their primarily utility to communicate messages. This screen I stare at. TV and Movies. The visual sense is so utilized for meaning, that early film theorists realized that we had produced a visual society.
How else to explain sunset at Ocean Beach? Dozens of people, sitting in the self-contained automobile environment, watching the sunset. No wind, sand, spray and surf. Simply seeing encompasses all that’s there to be experienced. The Ocean Beach sunset is like seeing a movie.