Total recall

Rob Smith uploaded photos from a holiday in France to Google+ which processed the pics using its AutoAwesome algorithm(s). When Smith went to look at the results, he spotted something peculiar with one of the photos.

It’s a nice picture, a sweet moment with my wife, taken by my father-in-law, in a Normandy bistro. There’s only one problem with it. This moment never happened.

I haven't opened Google+ in ages, I had no idea its algorithms would try to combine the best elements of photos shot in a burst. In this case, it looked to be trying to capture the best smiles from all the faces in the photo to put into a single composite.

You may say that the AIs in the cloud helped me out, gave me a better memory to store and share, a digestion of reality into the memory I wish had been captured.

But I’m reasonably sure you wouldn’t say that if this were a photo of Obama and Putin, smiling it up together, big, simultaneously happy buddies, at a Ukraine summit press conference. Then, I think algorithms automatically creating such symbolic moments would be a concern.

And why am I saying “then”? I’m certain it’s happening right now. And people are assuming that these automatically altered photos are “what happened”.

This was fairly seamless work on the part of the AI. Search for panoramic photo fails and you'll see some of the Frankensteinian horrors that can result from digital stitching gone awry. I half suspect the Human Centipede movies were inspired by a botched panoramic pic.