The Affective Growth of Computer Vision
The success of deep learning has led to intense growth and interest in computer vision, along with concerns about its potential impact on society. Yet we know little about how these changes have affected the people that research and practice computer vision: we as a community spend so much effort trying to replicate the abilities of humans, but so little time considering the impact of this work on ourselves. In this paper, we report on a study in which we asked computer vision researchers and practitioners to write stories about emotionally-salient events that happened to them. Our analysis of over 50 responses found tremendous affective (emotional) strain in the computer vision community. While many describe excitement and success, we found strikingly frequent feelings of isolation, cynicism, apathy, and exasperation over the state of the field. This is especially true among people who do not share the unbridled enthusiasm for normative standards for computer vision research and who do not see themselves as part of the "in-crowd." Our findings suggest that these feelings are closely tied to the kinds of research and professional practices now expected in computer vision. We argue that as a community with significant stature, we need to work towards an inclusive culture that makes transparent and addresses the real emotional toil of its members.