The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Computer Vision

Luke Frost our consultant managing the role
Author: Luke Frost
Posting date: 4/25/2019 9:28 AM
“Don’t judge a book by its cover”. We use this adage to remind ourselves to go deeper and to look beyond the superficial exterior. Except, sometimes, we can’t, or won’t. Sometimes, our perceptions are pre-programmed. Think family, peer pressure, and social influences. But what about computers? What do they see? In a digital landscape that demands privacy but needs information, what are the advantages and disadvantages of Computer Vision?

The Good: Digital Superpowers 


Let’s be clear, Computer Vision is not the same as image recognition, though they are often used interchangeably. Computer Vision is more than looking at pictures, it is closer to a superpower. It can see in the dark, through walls, and over long distances and, in a matter of moments, rifle through massive volumes of information and report back its findings.

So, what does this mean? First and foremost, it means Computer Vision can support us in our daily activities and business. It may not seem like it at first glance, but much of what the computer sees is to our advantage. Let’s take a deeper look into the ways we use Computer Vision today.

  • Big Data: From backup cameras on cars to traffic patterns, weather reports to shopping behaviours and everything in between. Everything we do, professional to personal, is being watched, recorded, and used for warning, learning, saving, spending, and social. 
  • Geo-Location: Want to know how to get from Point A to Point B? This is where Geo-location comes in. In order to navigate, the satellite must first pinpoint where we are and along the way, it can point out restaurants, shops, and services to ease us on our way.
  • Medical Imaging: X-rays, ultrasounds, catheterisations, MRIs, CAT Scans, even LASIK are already in use. Add telemedicine and the possibilities are endless. The application of these functions will allow faster and more accurate diagnoses and help save lives.
  • Sensors: Motion sensors that only turns a light on when a heat signature is nearby are already saving your home or business money on your electric bill. Now, during a shop visit when you are eyeing an intriguing product, your phone may buzz with a coupon for that very item. Computer Vision sensors are now tracking shopper movements to help optimize your shopping experience.
  • Thermal Imaging: Heat signatures already help humans detect heat or gas and avoid dangerous areas, but soon this function will be integrated into every smart phone. Thermal imaging is no longer used just to catch dangerous environments, it’s used in sport. From determining drug use to statistics and strategy, this is yet another example .

The Bad: Privacy Will Forever Change 


Google is 20 years old this year. Facebook is 15. Between these two media tech giants, technological advances have ratcheted steadily toward the Catch-22 of both helping our daily lives, whilst exposing our data to our employers, governments, and advertisers. Computer Vision will allow them to see you and what you’re doing in photos and may make decisions based on something you did in your school or university days. We’re already pre-wired to make snap judgements and judge books by their cover, but what will these advancements do to our daily lives? Privacy will change forever. 

We document our lives daily with little regard to the privacy settings on our favourite social media apps. GDPR has been a good start, but it’s deigned to protect businesses and create trust from consumers, rather than truly offer privacy. So far, the impact on our privacy has been limited as it still takes such a long time to sift through the amount of data available. However, the time is coming soon, where we’ll need to perhaps think of a privacy regulation businesses, employers, and governments must follow to protect the general population.

Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and Animal Farm were once cautionary tales of a far-off future. But Big Brother is already watching and has been for quite some time. Police monitor YouTube videos. Mayors cite tweets to justify their actions. And we, thumb through our phones tagging friends and family without discretion. 

Like every new technological advancement there are advantages and disadvantages. As Computer Vision becomes increasingly prevalent, we’ll all need to be aware of the kind of data we supply from to text to image. We can’t go back to the way things were, but we can learn about ourselves through the computer’s lens. And when it comes to computers and their capabilities, don’t judge a book its cover.

If you’re interested in Data & Analytics, we may have a role for you. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants for more information. 

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Data Science For Business Decision Making

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Is Computer Vision at the Core of the New Normal?

Computer Vision is one of the fastest growing markets in Data & Analytics. While it was on a trajectory prior to the pandemic, the needs we have now have amped up the role Computer Vision plays in our day-to-day lives and businesses who want to keep up or get ahead are paying attention.  Unexpected Businesses Using Computer Vision Some unusual players leaning on these technologies are grocery stores. While some have pivoted to pickup and delivery, others have remained stagnant with yesterday’s shopping habits changed only to individuals in store wearing masks. For those who made the leap to the "new normal", they’re using things like shelf sensors and Machine Learning to automate ordering and determine best placement of a product. Though retail stores are no stranger to video analytics, the rise of Deep Learning and AI offer a more rapid analysis of video for real-time threat assessment. Teaching the machine to watch for crowding, erratic movement, or potential conflict allows for quick reaction or proactive measures to stop a conflict in play. Yet, behind all this Machine Learning and Computer Vision elements are people. Real live humans. And it’s their new normal which is a strong part of the world’s new normal as most everyone shifts and remains online, working remotely. Behaviours are changing and many businesses have differentiated themselves from others by staying ahead of the game.        Five Ways Businesses Are Moving Forward in the New Normal Remote work is here to stay. A jump of 18% of remote working after the pandemic is expected to remain key to many businesses. And nearly three quarters of executives, plan to increase their remote workers. Key components of this new change will be to bring onboard those with strong digital collaboration skills, ability to manage virtually, and reassess how goals and objectives are to be decided. How will businesses keep remote employees engaged, enthused, and feel part of the team when they could be miles or countries apart?Gig Workers as Cost-Saving Measure. As employees move out of office and online, gig workers are a go-to for businesses hoping to move forward and keep costs low. Performance management systems will need to be re-evaluated. After all, if the idea is to keep costs low (read: overhead), then how does the debate about whether or not to offer benefits fit in to the mix?Definitions are Changing. Whether the definition includes ‘critical skills,’ ‘critical role,’ or something similar. What these meant once are changing. Now, the focus is on how to encourage, mentor, or coach employees in professional development skills which can open up a variety of opportunities versus one set path to one set role.Keeping Track Virtually. Though most businesses tend to follow the model of ‘productivity and performance’ over simply hours worked, some organisations passively track their remote workforce. This keeping track can include timeclock software virtually managed to computer usage to monitoring communications. Several benefits of data tracking in this manner could be a boon to HR Managers as it could help to understand employee engagement. But it’s a fine line to traverse.Organisational Redesign Done with Efficiency in Mind. As everything from products to people move online, it’s more important than ever to ensure things like logistics, supply chains, and workflows are designed with efficiency in mind. Computer Vision AI models can help take these systems to the next level as things like grocery shopping, retail, and legacy businesses find their business must go online or pivot in the new normal to survive. In our recently released 2020 Salary Guide we discuss each specialism. What’s working. What isn’t. And how businesses can hire and retain top talent to keep their projects on track and their businesses running smoothly.If you’re interested in Data & Technology, Risk or Digital Analytics, Life Sciences Analytics, Marketing & Insight, or Data Science, check out our current opportunities. Alternatively, you can contact one of our expert consultants if you’d like to learn more. 

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