A partner at an early-stage investment firm argues that “in the 2000s everyone was learning HTML and making a website. In the 2010s everyone was learning to develop mobile apps. In the 2020s all the developers are going to build Vision AI.” Where the web had its impact was by digitizing manual paper-based processes… I believe the next big wave is Vision AI, and for the same reason: It offers the opportunity to digitize the next massive trove of information in the world, that which is not on paper but which can be seen through a camera… Why use a temperature sensor when a camera can see reflected light frequencies and determine the temperature? The latest cellphones are integrating LIDAR sensors into their cameras, and I believe the camera sensing suite will become even more sophisticated. Combine this with emerging computer vision technology powered by AI, and together you have Vision AI. Vision AI has the power to unlock the future of automation in a way not seen since the Web Revolution where every form and phone call was turned into a site, and we unlocked all the resulting searches, analytics, and automated processing that is now commonplace. Just like there are web boot camps, there will soon be computer vision boot camps to enlarge the circle of access to this new technology. Anything you want to count, record, analyze, or store can be obtained by teaching Vision AI to look for it. And that’s just capturing the data, the way web forms did. After that unfolds everything we can do with that data. Provide reports, comparisons, and analysis. Make predictions. Profile and advertise. Learn and educate… The real changes come when computers start measuring and counting things that are either too vast for humans to count — every dead oak tree in California — or too expensive for humans to count — every yeast cell in a culture — or too difficult for humans to perceive — the change in gait that suggests a medical condition. During this decade we will see boot camps teaching hundreds of thousands of developers to utilize Vision AI tools, just the way we taught millions to code the web. After that, we will see our world for the next level of data that it presents and be able to act on that. A disclaimer at the end of the article acknowledges that “I currently have a vested interest in eight Vision AI companies.”
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