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Can computers learn to see? Yes they can, face recognition technology is everywhere on the internet. Imagining colors is a bit more difficult but a company named Algorithmia has an application which does a credible job. It uses what they call "deep learning" to gather information from millions of photographs to "imagine" how a black and white photo might appear in color.
"We're excited to introduce cloud hosted deep learning models on Algorithmia. TheColorful Image Colorization microservice is a computer vision algorithm trained on a million images from the Imagenet dataset.
This microservice is an implementation of the Colorful Image Colorization algorithm created by Richard Zhang, Phillip Isola, and Alexei A. Efros..
Let us know what you think @Algorithmia or by email." - Website Intro
|Traditionally black and white photos were hand colored. This is one of my favorite photo of my mom reading with two friends. It was taken in the early 1920s.|
|Computer colorized photo taken of an antique plate in Smithville, NH. It did a credible job except for the fencing on the lower left side. I assume the algorithm "knew" where the sky was and the general shape of foliage.|
However I don't think does a very credible job with human subjects. In this photo I was wearing a blue denim shirt which I believe would be fairly easy to identify.
You can try this software for yourself by clicking on this demo link.