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Skype Uses AI to Blur Backgrounds

Paul Rubens - February 7, 2019 - 06:33 AM
Skype Uses AI to Blur Backgrounds
Artificial intelligence has been trained to focus on humans and make embarrassing backgrounds less visible.

(CCM) — Making a Skype video call in a messy room just got less embarrassing thanks to a new background blur feature introduced this week.

Users of the Microsoft-owned service can now toggle a switch, right click, or choose an option in Skype's settings to activate the feature, which uses artificial intelligence tuned to human form detection, the company said in a blog post.

The artificial intelligence has been trained to detect hair, hands, and arms, as well as human faces and bodies, allowing it to blur the background while keeping the caller sharply focused.

The Skype team suggests that the feature can be used to avoid having to tidy up before making a call, as well as avoiding the possibility that business users might inadvertently reveal confidential information that might otherwise be visible during a call.

The feature could also be helpful during video job interviews or live television interviews if young children come marching into the room unexpectedly.

Although the feature is undoubtedly a useful one, it may not be enough to restore Skype's relevance when users are increasingly turning to Facebook's WhatsApp and Messenger free messaging and video calling services.

Background blur is available today on most desktops and laptops using the latest version of Skype.

Image: © Skype.
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