Stephen Shankland, writing for CNet on the ways “computational photography” improve the cameras in the new Google Pixel phones:
Some of Google’s investment in camera technology takes the form of
AI, which pervades just about everything Google does these days.
The company won’t disclose all the areas the Pixel 2 camera uses
machine learning and “neural network” technology that works
something like human brains, but it’s at least used in setting
photo exposure and portrait-mode focus.
Neural networks do their learning via lots of real-world data. A
neural net that sees enough photographs labeled with “cat” or
“bicycle” eventually learns to identify those objects, for
example, even though the inner workings of the process aren’t the
if-this-then-that sorts of algorithms humans can follow.
“It bothered me that I didn’t know what was inside the neural
network,” said Levoy, who initially was a machine-learning
skeptic. “I knew the algorithms to do things the old way. I’ve
been beat down so completely and consistently by the success of
machine learning” that now he’s a convert.