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Tactical Information Systems Blog

Human Vision & Computer Vision

I've been very interested in computer vision for a while now. It started with an interest in biometric face matching and the technology behind it which we use to develop products that establish online trust. Then I first heard of "face blindness" Prosopagnosia and realized I likely have a mild version of it and my interest increased. But you can't dig too deep into computer vision without developing an appreciation for the marvel that is human vision.

Today I want to talk about Pareidolia which is when our brains see patterns in data that are not there, often faces. We are hardwired to see patterns and specifically to see faces. Some experts think babies can recognize faces from birth, which would be an important survival trait. We are very good at finding faces even when there is a lot of noise in the data. We are so good at it that we often see them when they don't exist. Here are a few examples:

1. This train is very mad:

Image credit: Imgur

Image credit: Imgur

2. This octopus is internet famous:

Image credit: Bored Panda

Image credit: Bored Panda

3. This island in Scotland has it's own Wikipedia page:

Image Credit: Stephen Hodges

Image Credit: Stephen Hodges

4. I would clean more if this was my mop:

Image Credit: Wimp.com

Image Credit: Wimp.com

5. This potato wants to be your dinner:

Image Credit: Reddit

Image Credit: Reddit

6. Personally, I don't see it:

Image Credit:  National Geographic

Image Credit:  National Geographic

7. Her knees look like little babies:

Image Credit: Reddit

Image Credit: Reddit

8. Life is good if you are fruit:

Image Credit: Reddit

Image Credit: Reddit

9. I see faces everywhere:

Image Credit: Scary Website

Image Credit: Scary Website

10. Now that's a handsome mug:

Image Credit: Reddit

Image Credit: Reddit

So the next time you are walking around, just think about the fact that you don't see with your eyes, you see with your brain. Your eyes are just the "lenses of the camera" and transmit the data. Your brain is taking in that data and constructing what you see. Some of it is really there but obviously some of it isn't. Human vision is amazing.