John & Anne Wiley

2012/07/31

The Eye

Computers can’t yet distinguish things. Yet. So far, human face recognition is maybe their best game. But recognizing everyday things as most any two year old child can do, not so much. Cameras don’t see very well either, in human terms. OK sure, they can see vastly more detail and into the ultraviolet and infrared. But they don’t see. The human eye is really good at the things that matter most to us. But why do scenes like this draw my eye?

1313 Gulls & Buoys

1313 Gulls & Buoys

Is it the crowded emptiness of all those boats and no people? The colors and shapes? Memories of toy boats? The unusual perspective? The fact I once sailed on boats like these? Of course it looked different to my eye than to the camera and the computers we’re viewing the pic on. But what would a computer make of it? Or this one?

1314 Dredge Roost

1314 Dredge Roost

Keeping SB Harbor open requires pumping lots of sand onto East Beach, and though the boats might not like navigating past it the birds absolutely love all this space and have painted it white. So why did I snap it?

Moving objects draw the eye. Especially bright colors. So this was an easy one.

1318 Easy One

1318 Easy One

We’re usually talking to ATC while flying, and they tell us about “traffic.” The aviator’s word for other aircraft within a couple of miles. Often they’re hard to spot, especially if they’re the same color as the sky, their profile is small, and if the air’s a little hazy. It’s great having an idea where to look but this one half a mile away, bright red and moving across the landscape, was easy to spot. Given that everything’s moving, would a computer have spotted it as easily? Would a computer know what this next one is?

1310 Mission Creek Mouth

1310 Mission Creek Mouth

Why has my eye been drawn lately to the colors and shapes of this scene? Colors and forms for sure. Also the pipe that the sand travels from the Harbor to East Beach. The contrast of beach grasses. I didn’t notice from the air, but now I’m quite drawn to the palm tree shadows. Do such things sometimes move me to snap, not knowing why, and then jumping out at me looking at the pic later?

Many are predicting that within the next few decades people will have computers and cameras implanted and connecting their nervous systems with the Internet. What will life be like for people born into a world where everyone is hard wired? What will their “eye” be like? Will there still be an “I?”

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