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6 mins

I’m Publishing a Book. #

It’s called The Spring of Sight.

It’s about:

  • Computer Vision (technology).
  • Society (ethics, pragmatism).

The pre-sale is now closed. A big thanks to those who pre-ordered! If you missed it, I implore you to buy the book once it’s officially published.

For sneak preview content, updates on my progress, and more, join the email newsletter:

Book Details #

Short Synopsis #

Learn about the current renaissance in Computer Vision, the branch of AI where engineers and academics are teaching computers to “see” and interface with the world based on visual information. Imagine where these technologies might lead us, as a society.

Explainer Vid #

Long Synopsis #

The Spring of Sight is a journalistic tour of today’s renaissance in Computer Vision, the branch of AI where engineers and researchers are teaching computers to “see” and interface with the world based on visual information.

My name is Robert Boscacci, and I am the author of The Spring of Sight. My writing journey began when I realized that the average person in my immediate circle was unaware of the quiet revolution happening in computer vision, a field that many don’t know exists. The explosive acceleration of this field will have a lasting impact on the world around you, from how you’re treated at the hospital to how you get to the grocery store.

My hope is that in reading The Spring of Sight, you will discover just how pervasive this suite of technologies is going to become in your world on several scales, and what you can do to prepare. Over the course of the book’s three parts, I hope to instill in you the same sort of cautious optimism that I harbor with respect to computer vision.

Ultimately, I want you to see this book as a tool to help you add your voice to the conversation, so that you can navigate and ultimately help sculpt what might otherwise become a dystopian future.

As you read, you’ll learn about computer vision’s potential to:

  • Ease the burden on overworked healthcare workers
  • Curb gambling addiction
  • Be incredibly harmful (like, terribly racist)
  • Supercharge Hollywood and sports broadcasting
  • Transform the consumer experience

Also featured:

  • How China and Russia have deployed computer vision in Orwellian ways (that we should avoid)
  • Exclusive interviews with bleeding-edge researchers and engineers (at e.g. MIT, Siemens, and Adobe)

You will love The Spring of Sight if you’re excited about technology’s promise to improve our lives and society—or if you’re a skeptic who feels that tech “solutions” only dig us into deeper trouble. Readers of Popular Science/Mechanics, the technology section of the news, John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, or Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction will get a kick out of this.

The Spring of Sight is a nonfiction book that speaks to futurists and activists who are looking at image-based automation and mass surveillance for the first time.

The Book’s Four Parts #

Part one contains the introduction, plus a couple chapters which define computer vision, detailing how it reached its current renaissance. The reader will learn about a hilariously ambitious summer project at MIT in the sixties, as well as a few of the many ways in which computer vision already powers bits of the world around us—from automatic license plate scanning, to remote check deposits, to AR filters for your phone.

Part two contains Chapters 3 through 7, the most hopeful and exciting part of the book. Experts from the field invite us into their labs and offices, showcasing a number of ways in which computer vision will afford us new and empowering capabilities. The reader will learn about how companies like Adobe use computer vision to enhance the digital creator experience, hospitals will use computer vision in radiology to decrease misdiagnoses and give time back to providers, and, of course, the conversation around self-driving cars transcends the fringes and enters the mainstream.

Part three contains chapters eight through eleven, the bleakest (but most critical) chapters of the book: Here readers are exposed to the potential and actual downsides of computer vision’s rise to prevalence, ranging from governmental abuse, algorithmic bias, snake-oil salesmen, job displacement, and beyond. An app to detect skin cancer with your phone’s camera sounds great, but what if it only works for white people? Readers will come to learn how even image-based datasets can reflect and magnify societal biases.

Part four directs readers towards resources and examples to follow in avoiding the pitfalls detailed in part three, while holding on to the superpowers we gained in part two. An expert from Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology offers hard-earned insights from her career in tech policy. The reader learns about different cities’ and states’ approaches to preparing for a future where computer vision is ubiquitous. We close out with a checklist of steps for the reader to help prepare for that future.

My Publishing Journey #

My publisher (New Degree Press) gave me a publishing team to help me produce and launch my book. I am working with:

  • A revisions editor, copy editor, and proofreader to further hone my book

  • A marketing specialist to coach and support me in marketing efforts, and help me reach new audiences

  • A cover artist and layout editor will be designing my book. (The mockups you see currently are a placeholder!)

While I am grateful for this professional support, I am still technically self-publishing and will own 100% of the rights to my book.

About the Author #

Robert Boscacci is the former Data Science Lead at Butter Works, a startup that used computer vision to analyze dozens of thousands of social media videos for clients like Disney+, Netflix, Spotify, and ViacomCBS. He comes from a background in New York City’s film post-production industry, with IMdB credits as a film colorist and dailies technician on Netflix features and episodic productions.

Boscacci is curious about how tech policy can become less knee-jerky and more proactive, so that communities and organizations can maximize the utility and minimize the harm of the cutting edge. He hopes to encourage readers from all walks of life to join the conversation around tech and policy—so that the folks who normally get steamrolled in the name of progress are more empowered to make their voices heard, and those driving the steamrollers become more aware of themselves.

Boscacci is the caricature of a millennial Brooklyn hipster: Picture him wearing his nearly non-prescription glasses, dismounting his fixie and tapping to pay to slurp a single-origin espresso on his way to the nonprofit repertory cinema. He un-ironically holds a fishing license from the state of New York and uses it to catch Bluegill in the Prospect Park Lake.

You can connect with Boscacci (me) directly at:[at]gmail[dot]com