Google is using AI to create stunning landscape photos using Street View imagery

Google’s latest artificial intelligence experiment is taking in Street View imagery from Google Maps and transforming it into professional-grade photography through post-processing — all without a human touch. Hui Fang, a software engineer on Google’s Machine Perception team, says the project uses machine learning techniques to train a deep neural network to scan thousands of Street View images in California for shots with impressive landscape potential. The software then “mimics the workflow of a professional photographer” to turn that imagery into an aesthetically pleasing panorama. The research, posted to the pre-print server arXiv earlier this week, is a great example of how AI systems can be trained to perform tasks that aren’t binary, with a right or wrong answer, and more subjective, like in the fields of art and photography. Doing this kind of aesthetic training with software can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, as it has traditionally required labeled data sets. That means human beings have to manually pick out which lighting effects or saturation filters, for example, result in a more aesthetically pleasing photograph. Fang and his team used a different method. They were able to train the neural network quickly and efficiently to identify what most would consider…


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