# Odd questions for you all ;) ‘Degradation’ algorithms versus ‘Enhancement’ algorithms

From: Marc Geddes (marc_geddes@yahoo.co.nz)
Date: Fri Feb 04 2005 - 00:29:51 MST

Let’s do a thought experiment. Define a ‘Degradation
algorithm’ to be any algorithm that takes in data
about something in some sphere and outputs a ‘worse
version’ (as judged by some group of humans on
average) of the data. An ‘Enhancement algorithm’
would be the opposite – it would be an algorithm that
takes in data about something in some sphere and
outputs a ‘better version’ of the data (as judged on
average by the same reference group of humans)

For instance:

A music degradation algorithm would take in the data
representing any piece of music (listened to by some
large reference group of humans), modify it and output
the modified data which when ‘played back ’ as music
is nearly always judged to be ‘a worse version of the
same musical piece’ than the original (‘worse’ as
judged by taking the average of the same group of
humans that listened to the original music).

A music enhancement algorithm would do the opposite.
It would take in the data representing any piece of
music (listened to by some large reference group of
humans) , modify it and and output the modified data
which when ‘played back’ as music is nearly always
judged to be ‘a better version of the same musical
piece’ than the original (‘better’ as judged by taking
the average of the same group of humans that listened
to the original music).

Questions: What would the difference between the
algorithm’ be? Would the degradation algorithm simply
be the opposite of the enhancement algorithm? How
many different ‘types’ of musical degradation are
there do you think? (Is there is finite number of
different possible ways in which you could ‘degrade’ a
given piece of music or an infinite number of
different possible ways)? Now how many different
‘types’ of musical enhancement are there? (Is there a
finite number of different possible ways in which you
could ‘enhance’ a given piece of music or an infinite
number of different possible ways)?

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