Natural Vision for Artificial Systems, Active Vision and Thought

Abstract: The visual system in animals and humans consists of a number of information processing units that are here called visual routines. These routines are specialized in handling different cognitive tasks, for example, object recognition, motion, stereo, color, texture, and optic flow. together, these routines contribute to the internal representation of the visual world. On the top of this network of interconnected units, language is grounded. The thesis covers several fields in vision research and aims at presenting an overview of how the different fields may be connected. The thesis attempts to describe a construction of an artificial vision system that is based on what we know about natural seeing processes. The aim is to build a complete vision system that includes even the cognitive aspects of vision, for example, how language can exploit visual representations. According to the proposed construction, the visual process is not finished when an object centered representation is attained. Such a representation is argued to be only one among many visual aspects of the scene. Beyond a single object centered identification of an object, a focused content is also formed, which means that some aspects of the object are highlighted. A visual object is not simply constructed as a statical content of properties, but an object can always change its content. What the content will be depends on external as well as on internal factors. For example, sometimes an object A that looks similar to an object B can change so that it looks more similar to the object C. In that case the content of the focused properties has changed so that object B share more common properties with object C. Processing language requires that such a mechanism dynamically forms the internal object that is in focus. Language understanding is a process that interactively adapts the internal object in focus between the two communicators so that it will fit their internal knowledge data-bases of object categories.

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