But trust me, you probably do not know what Prisma really is. I mean lets be honest. Aren't there dozens of filter apps out there? Instagram, Retrica, Candy Cam, Camera 360 .... the list would go on and on. Hundreds of apps and thousands of filters and the one which had to be viral within a month of release would have to be Prisma. Haven't you ever given it a second thought why? Whether you give a damn or not, I myself did not. I had other important stuff to work on. But the hype was way too real to not give a damn, so here I am.
As far as filters and most smartphone photography companion apps go, most of them are equipped with tons of filters, most of which had rather become popular because they seemed to help you with your ethnicity or those dark spots on your face. Nevertheless, the way they worked had been all the same, since now.
Traditional filters work around a certain fixed algorithm which are hard-coded into the app itself. All they do is read the image data, process it through the given algorithm i.e. poke around with the brightness, contrast, color levels, clarity, sharpness, temperature, tint and all. So to be honest they are quite dull and boring and no wonder they have never created much of a fuss to this date.
So, where does Prisma then fit into this league of photo filter apps? Well, bite me, it does NOT! Because Prisma itself is not a photo filter. Its an AI. Yes, you're hearing me right, its based on an Artificial Intelligence, as claimed in their official website.
So what is an Artificial Intelligence? From watching all those sci-fi movies you most probably have a profound idea about those self-conscious robots who try and take over mankind? Well i'm sorry but the concept of AI is more far-fetched rather than being so fictitious.
Before we get started about how AI works we need to take a look at the scope of the machines we used throughout the last two decades. Most of the programming and intelligence we see in PCs and general purpose electronic devices to date were linear, based solely on simple logical coding. If-then conditions, loops and simple mathematical operations. These machines rely completely on the provided instruction set and are totally limited to what they are intended to be done with.
Artificial Intelligence, coupled with neural networks and machine learning however don't seem to follow the traditional approach of following a given instruction set. Rather they are much more like how the human brain works. The human brain is based on neural networks. The way we interpret and process any information is solely based on searching for connections. Artificial intelligence nowadays take advantage of advanced techniques of neural networks and machine learning algorithms which allow computer programs to mimic the working process of a human brain.
For instance, in the case of Prisma, it does not use any specified algorithm to create a modified image. Rather it takes help of its neural net algorithm which takes samples of great artworks, find connections among the pixels, the colors, the elements in them, and in the process learns how to produce an artwork having a visible signature. Its almost comparable to the learning process of a human being, except for the machine, its far more quick, clever and efficient at what it does. So finally when the image is rendered, Prisma in effect produces the whole image from a scratch, as if it was shown the reference image and it was to draw an artwork in its own canvas. Spectacular, isn't it ?
Disclaimer: I had intentions to draw dramatic conclusions to the article with extensive coverage on Machine learning, AI and Neural networks. But I'm tired AF and guess I'll keep it in the bag for another day!