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negative media perception of video research

Okay, so I admit that this work isn't one that can cure recent economic troubles, but as far as video search goes, it's an example of DARPA funding used to help push the performance boundaries of what is possible in video signal processing. In a Washington Post article, a new project involving video surveillance is described.  Of course the exact description is still fuzzy, but from the tone and title of the article, readers are already biased against the content.

While I'm not yet a libertarian, I see the value of this work both to prevent negative activity and the danger of it if used for the wrong purpose.  However, it's a little-known fact that other research communities utilizing more traditional signal processing have seen their funding all but go away.  One good example is audio analysis, which has given birth to some cool applications like Shazam, an engine to recall songs with only a few seconds (even over a cell phone) [just noticed they are working with Android and the iPhone -- great initiative guys!], or a friend's work MajorMiner, which discovers related content by genre classification (similar to Pandora, but without the thousands of paid musicians).  Granted there are public forums that spur this work but in general unless you're paying for it yourself, you need grants and contracts to sponsor your research.  Of course, it's also interesting to see that Johnny Lee, of YouTube fame for his Wii work, has also gotten some traction -- but projects on his own time, yikes!

Anyway, for those of you that are scared by this rhetoric, rest assured that foresight from research communities (DARPA, NSF, DTO, etc.) sponsored by governments locally and internationally (like TRECVID) will continue to work on problems that the public isn't quite faced with yet like event detection from surveillance, copy detection through video (internationally), and my academic topic of interactive video search.

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