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Zoom... Enhance! AI adds pixels that aren't actually there

Of all the cringeworthy film & tv clichés, the zoom, enhance using such and such algorithm is probably the one that strikes the hardest at my tech geeky heart. But thanks to advances in AI, it turns out zooming into an image and seeing pixels that don't exist is possible. A combination of techniques are employed; to over-simplify, the AI tries to match the low-res image against downsized hi-res images. It then adds pixels to the low-res image based on details from other images it considers similar. The result isn't perfect, but it definitely could be good enough to catch the bad-guy. Looks like I'll be able to watch a crime thriller through its "get the IT guy to analyse CCTV footage" scene without completely falling apart.

It's important to note that the computed super-resolution image is not real. The added details—known as "hallucinations" in image processing jargon—are a best guess and nothing more. This raises some intriguing issues, especially in the realms of surveillance and forensics. This technique could take a blurry image of a suspect and add more detail—zoom! enhance!—but it wouldn't actually be a real photo of the suspect. It might very well help the police find the suspect, though.

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