Will “Diminished Reality” Be a Tool for Censorship?
A team of researchers in Germany (from Technische Universität Ilmenau) have developed a new technology called “Diminished Reality” that allows real time removal of unwanted objects from a video. It’s an amazing piece of tech; almost seamless, even with complex textures. The offending objects are destroyed and blended into the background as if they never existed — for every frame — and it all happens in milliseconds.
The applications that Diminished Reality could be put toward are many, from personal, to corporate, to government and news media. Imagine being able to remove your ex from that family reunion video; or how about that embarrassing stain that you didn’t notice until you watched the recording back? Maybe this would be a good way to to quickly edit your film — or set up a replacement video for those pesky museum guards to watch… *ahem*
The application of Diminished Reality that immediately comes to mind, however, is censorship — specifically censorship in news footage that could be used for propaganda purposes and the like. Even “live” feeds are potential vehicles in US programming, if the software can be adapted to work with the imposed five-second delay on live broadcasts (thank you Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson). If that happens, the marketing term “Diminished Reality” will take on literal meaning. I am very intrigued to see where this tech will go in the near future.
Check out the video below to see Diminished Reality in action — then leave your thoughts in the comments: