I usually think of machine learning as an emerging technology that will have a big impact on our lives in the not too distant future through applications like autonomous driving. Everywhere I look, however, I see areas where machine learning will affect our lives much sooner in a myriad of smaller ways.
A recent article in Wired described one such example. It told about the work some MIT and Google researchers have done using machine learning to retouch photos. I would do this by using a photo editing program to do something like adjust the color saturation of a whole photo. Instead, their algorithm applies different filters to different parts of a photo. So, faces in the foreground might get different treatment than the sunset in the background.
The researchers train the neural network using professionally retouched photos. I love the idea of a program that automatically improves the look of my less-than-professional personal photos.
What I found more exciting, however, is that the researchers could make their software efficient enough to run on a smartphone in a fraction of a second. That makes it significantly more useful.
This technology is not yet available, but it seems like something that could show up in existing photo or camera apps before long. I hope to see it soon on a smartphone in my hand!
All of that made me think about how we might incorporate such an algorithm in the XPRTs. When I started reading the article, I was thinking it might fit well in our upcoming machine-learning XPRT. By the time I finished it, however, I realized it might belong in a future version of one of the other XPRTs, like MobileXPRT. What do you think?