I’ve always been quite skeptical about the use of AI for forensics and investigations, as you may have seen in some of my older posts. In recent years most of the advancements in image and video enhancement, analysis, authentication, and tampering detection have been based on AI techniques. I don’t think we can exclude anymore anything which has something to do with AI, but it should be handled with extreme care. In this article, I will explain why in some contexts AI may be acceptable for forensics if used within some tight boundaries and safeguards.
Amped Software has its roots in academic research, and the first prototype of Amped FIVE actually started with my master’s thesis project in Electronic Engineering. In this article, I want to talk a bit about the relationship between Amped Software and science, the scientific method, and scientific research. As the title suggests, we’ll discuss what science gives to Amped and what Amped is giving back to scientific fields such as multimedia forensics, forensic video analysis, and forensic image and video enhancement. Curious? Keep reading!
In the past few years, I didn’t have much time to write here, and my colleagues have been writing most of the posts on technical matters. With many big changes in the industry, and in the world at large, I thought it was time to go back to writing in first person, about something more than just technical aspects, to offer our users a better insight into what we do, how we do it and, most importantly, why we do it.
I will briefly introduce myself to the newcomers to this blog. My name’s Martino Jerian, and I am CEO and Founder of Amped Software. I’ve been working on image and video forensics since 2005, when I started my dissertation in Electronic Engineering at the University of Trieste, Italy, writing the prototype of what later became Amped FIVE.
I don’t think I ever said it publicly, but basically, my idea was to create for the forensic community what Photoshop was for the creative professionals. So, I started with a very simple and clear objective: creating the ultimate tool for image and video processing needs for forensic and investigative purposes. It was an ambitious idea for a random Italian guy barely out of the university, but it turned out that being a hopeless optimist helped a bit. I knew very clearly where I wanted to go, but I didn’t have any idea how.
Our tagline has been for a while “Setting the Standard for Image and Video Forensics”. While it is a demanding purpose, I think it describes quite well our direction and current position.
One thing I’m very proud of is how our team continues to share and educate our users and the public in general on the topics of video evidence and multimedia forensics.
Our blog articles and YouTube channel have always been an extremely valuable free resource for all of our users. Together with the various social media channels and the newsletter, they have helped grow our community and act as a dynamic knowledge base.
I often receive positive feedback about the effectiveness of our content for learning the ins and outs of our tools and the proper forensic workflow.
If you have a question, need a tip to get something unusual accomplished, or you have an issue to solve, likely the solution is already on our blog, with more than 550 articles published from 2007 until today.
One of the lesser-known features, but which I am very proud of, is the BIG LIST page where all the posts are listed by category for easy skimming and searching (officially listed as “Posts by Category”). It’s incredible how much of the material posted years ago is still very current. Recently I’ve found myself sharing this article from 2011, and this other one from 2014, which I see it’s currently the third most popular post.
… But For Humans Too
Most of the content we write is pretty technical. There’s no doubt we have the most complete tools on the market for image and video forensics. However, what I think makes up the difference is not much the product itself, but the people working on it, providing technical support, and interacting with customers and partners. We do not have organizations working with other organizations, but people working with people. We are (mostly) geeks, but what makes us different is our human side and the interaction with the user at each level.
I wanted to add a bit more of human touch to this blog, writing less technical content but still relevant for our industry. This week I decided to launch this new column, called “Enhanced Reflections”, which is a pretty obvious joke on the famous magic enhancements of the various series a-là CSI, whose miseducation we had to fight against since our beginnings.
Our industry is usually a bit secretive, given the field, we are working in it’s always better to be careful. On the other hand, we do forensics, and forensics should be based on science, and science should be transparent. So, I’ll also take this opportunity to add some context to our job.
It won’t be a regular weekly series like our very successful Tip Tuesday or Video Evidence Pitfalls, but I will write articles when I think there’s something interesting to write about. Topics will be quite various, I may speak about the ins and outs of our company, about the industry in general, or about other relevant topics. My blog posts may also be a bit more opinionated than what you usually see here, though I always try to be as objective as possible.