Machine perception is the capability of a computer system to interpret data in a manner that is similar to the way humans use their senses to relate to the world around them. The basic method that the computers take in and respond to their environment is through the attached hardware. Until recently input was limited to a keyboard, or a mouse, but advances in technology, both in hardware and software, have allowed computers to take in sensory input in a way similar to humans.
Machine perception allows the computer to use this sensory input, as well as conventional computational means of gathering information, to gather information with greater accuracy and to present it in a way that is more comfortable for the user. These include computer vision, machine hearing, and machine touch.
The end goal of machine perception is to give machines the ability to see, feel and perceive the world as humans do and therefore for them to be able to explain in a human way why they are making their decisions, to warn us when it is failing and more importantly, the reason why it is failing.
Computer vision is a field that includes methods for acquiring, processing, analyzing, and understanding images and high-dimensional data from the real world to produce numerical or symbolic information, e.g., in the forms of decisions. Computer vision has many applications already in use today such as facial recognition, geographical modeling, and even aesthetic judgment.
Machine hearing, also known as machine listening or computer audition, is the ability of a computer or machine to take in and process sound data such as music or speech. This area has a wide range of application including music recording and compression, speech synthesis, and speech recognition. Moreover, this technology allows the machine to replicate the human brain’s ability to selectively focus in a specific sound against many other competing sounds and background noise. This particular ability is called “auditory scene analysis”. The technology enables the machine to segment several streams occurring at the same time. Many commonly used devices such as a smartphones, voice translators, and cars make use of some form of machine hearing.
Machine touch is an area of machine perception where tactile information is processed by a machine or computer. Applications include tactile perception of surface properties and dexterity whereby tactile information can enable intelligent reflexes and interaction with the environment.
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