I was lucky to get a ticket to hear Andrew Blake’s Lovelace lecture, on the subject of “Machines that (learn to) See”.
Machine vision works nowadays. Machines can: navigate using vision; separate object from background; recognise a wide variety of objects, and track their motion. These abilities are great spin-offs in their own right, but are also part of an extended adventure in understanding the nature of intelligence through visual perception.
The speaker was Laboratory Director at Microsoft Research, Cambridge and his team was behind the the Kinect technology. He is now Research Director at the Turing Institute.
The lecture covered the history of machine vision over the last 50 years, the rise and fall of different approaches to AI over the decades, and finally the recent successes of analysis-by-synthesis and empirical recognisers.