Can we teach computers to be digital detectives?
Imagine standing on the sidewalk of a busy city street, taking in your surroundings. “When you or I look at that scene, we have a task in mind—whether to find a place to eat or shop, the metro station, or a particular person,” says René Vidal, a Johns Hopkins professor of biomedical engineering. We take into account variables such as lighting, weather, and our angle of view. We’re able to distinguish the guy walking his dog from the suspicious one who seems to be following us. We can tell a car that’s pulling into a parking spot from one about to smash into a building.
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