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AI is hijacking my digital camera

Arsenal, a Kickstarter project, offers an AI based add on that will take care of managing a digital camera. You just decide what you want to shoot, forget all the rest. Credit: Arsenal

I blogged on the evolution of digital photography under the pressure of AI. First the use of AI in post processing, then in facial recognition, more recently making tripods smarter.

Now I stepped onto another Kickstarter project to industrialise a digital camera add on (it may fit onto the flash socket) to take care of all the camera parameters. You would just need to point the camera in the direction you want to shoot (framing the scene) and the AI will take over analysing the frame and setting the best compromise among the different camera controls (aperture, speed, ISO, white balance, HDR, stacking and so on).

The add on, a smart camera assistant, has been designed by Arsenal, that has managed to raise over 2,650,000$ on Kickstarter. This is clearly an indication that many people “like” the idea of a smart assistant. I would say it takes away the fun of shooting but clearly many other people think differently.

What amazes me is the capability of a software to “understand” an image and apply an aesthetic evaluation. As an example looking at a landscape it can tell the landscape is the high point in the image but in order to have it pop up in the photo the boulder in the forefront has to be in sharp focus, hence the smart assistant close the aperture half way and execute a focus stacking to get everything in focus with minimal diffraction. On the other hand, if that same landscape has a person sitting on the boulder it will direct the camera to open up the diaphragm and will not activate any photo stacking to get a nice background bokeh.

This comes natural to a photographer but it is quite surprising that a software can get this kind of subleties.

More than that. It is amazing that such capabilities may be so affordable!

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.