Zoom and enhance!

We’ve seen this in movies and cop show…

The fuzzy surveillance camera capture a perp in the commission of a crime, and the detective asks the IT guy to zoom in to a certain area and enhance the picture. The result is a sharp image that without a doubt identifies the perp, and off they go to catch the criminal…

Working with digital images, you soon learn that zooming in on an image will eventually show you the actual pixels, and increasing the resolution/pixels doesn’t add any detail, it only increases the number of pixels that were formerly represented by a single pixel. Granted there are image manipulation techniques to blend/soften/sharpen/edge detect to enhance an image, but never to the level of the fiction we’ve been exposed to.

That is, until google brain. This AI algorithm attempts to (intelligently) guess what detail to put into place when increasing the pixels. This is actually a super interesting application of AI, but also scary ass shit.

An immediate application that comes to mind  would be for improving the quality of surveillance photos and videos. But what if the AI gets it wrong? Would the enhanced image be admissible in court? Maybe the enhancement was 90% accurate, but it wasn’t you but your doppelgänger?

I’m sure with with testing and practice, AI enhancement algorithms will get more accurate… but where do we draw the line? Eye witness accuracy is fallible. AI Enhanced photography could have similar failure rates as well.

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