LAST year Artur Filipowicz, had a stop-sign problem. Dr Filipowicz is teaching cars how to see and interpret the world, with a view to them being able to drive themselves around unaided. One quality they will need is an ability to recognise stop signs.
To that end, he was trying to train an appropriate algorithm. Such training meant showing this algorithm (or, rather, the computer running it) lots of pictures of lots of stop signs in lots of different circumstances: old signs and new signs; clean signs and dirty signs; signs partly obscured by lorries or buildings; signs in sunny places, in rainy places and in foggy ones; signs in the day, at dusk and at night.
Obtaining all these images from photo libraries would have been hard. Instead, Dr Filipowicz turned to “Grand Theft Auto V”.