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Image-recognition software is advancing at a rapid rate. 

Tech giants like IBM, Apple and Google continue to invest heavily in this area; faces, scenes, objects, colours and text can now be spotted and recognised through machine learning. Tools like Amazon Rekognition Video have brought this ground-breaking technology to the average home consumer. 

But what does this mean for advertising

In a world where consumer understanding and targeting is king, image-recognition technology, when sharpened, may be nothing short of revolutionary. 

Imagine this: you share a photo of your birthday party on Facebook. Visual recognition analyses the image and detects your clothing, your jewellery, your hairstyle, your drinks, your food and your setting. Suddenly, who you are as a consumer has been perfectly understood. Next come the adverts. 

Or you might watch a music video – say, Nicki Minaj’s hot new release ‘Barbie Dreams’ – and wonder where she got her (faux?) yellow fur coat. Visual recognition can analyse all the images in the clip and deliver the answer you need: what it is, where to buy it, whom to buy it from and how much it costs. 

All this is very nice in an ever-slicker and convenient world, but critics have pointed out that, well, isn’t this just a little bit… creepy?

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