The first time Google Photography made me cry was a blow that surprised me.
One morning in April, I looked at my phone to step down to find more news about the world's disasters. Instead, there was a photo alert stating that Google image processing robots created a collection with my video. I've already seen such videos produced with artificial intelligence – Facebook's summary is a recurring misfortune as a summary of the year – so I wasn't expecting much. Then, I pressed to replicate and in thirty seconds, it was a ruin, with a long and painful face.
The video was about my 5-year-old daughter, Samara: Every time she wakes up, she is remembered for me in a complete and permanent way, her dad hooked into the cameras. My obsession created an archive nightmare; Samara and her brother Halil, both born in the age of smartphones, now have several terabytes of videos and photos spreading – it may be time for a lot of people to review. Someone can ask, why catch all these moments?
Well, in this simple two-minute collection, Google Photos allowed me to see a look of the answer.
Google computers can recognize faces, even ages. Google Photos also seems to understand the tone and emotional value of human interactions, smiles, nervous cartilages, crackling, tantrums, cheerful dances, and even things like dialogues like "Happy birthday". or "Well done!" The result, synchronized with a Hollywood soundtrack, was a montage of important events such as birthday, school games, and dozens of mundane moments of childhood joy.
When her hair was cut, Baby Samara was there when a few bums stepped in; When Samara, when she was younger, played bravely in swimming class when she was little when she was playing with her brother; Samara is already eating pizza on a pre-school car trip, when she puts her tongue on her camera. I can't post the video here; It would be like showing her diary. However, if Samara worked as the head of her class at the kindergarten, Google could be equivalent to the video of Bill Clinton's Man From Hope and could win a landslide victory.
That's what I mean when I talk about a "blow that surprises me": who believes that a software will make him cry? Images on Instagram and Snapchat can carry you on a daily basis, but Google Photos is not a social network; a personal network that began three years ago and is essentially a database to house the growing collections of private photos and a service that often serves as a service running the machine. Favorite
And yet, because of the technologies I use regularly, Google Photos has become one of the most relevant issues in emotional terms. This is a phenomenon, not because of the degree of benefit it has, but also because it eliminates any headaches that have been stored and searched throughout the tsunami of the photographs we produce. Moreover, Google Photos are exceptional because it enables us to understand ourselves through photography.
Focusing heavily on structuring artificial intelligence, Google Photos proposes the beginning of a new era of personalized robot historians. The billions of images we receive will become the raw material of the algorithms that will organize your memories and build narratives about our most sincere human experience. In the future, robots will know everything about us and tell our stories.
However, we keep ourselves ahead of us. He is currently waiting to be amazed by the core utility that Google Photos & # 39; s has had before worrying about tomorrow's science fictions. Since we started shooting movies, technology companies have tried to create mechanisms for managing digital photos. Most efforts failed; As our cameras evolve, we take more pictures and the less we take, the less we can store.
Martin Hand, a sociologist at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, and Martin Hand, author of Ubiquitous Photography, said, "With the invention of mobile phones, there was no image that people did nothing, absolutely nothing to do." Academic research on the happy problem of taking too many pictures. . But it created their own problems: it was an overwhelming issue. “
More than a decade ago, the world of technology brought a partial solution to the overriding of photographs: making images social. Flickr, then Facebook and Instagram through services such as, others have made for us to try to organize our pictures. The best photos are photos with the highest rating in your social profile; The worst, the ones you haven't.
However, social networks created another series of problems: fear of being out, fear of performance, loneliness, and fear of privacy erosion. In There was a feeling that everything was open to the public, where young people had to constantly regulate the idea of public opinion, Hand Hand said.
In the same way, Google tried to participate in the game of social photos. The first incarnation of Google Photos was part of Google Plus, the search company's social network that was closed and closed by the target company. A few years ago, after realizing that social networks were not his forte, Google returned to the design table with Google Photos.
The renewed service did three things: it provided almost unlimited and free storage for your photos (you can pay more for storing your pictures in better resolution sizes). I put them in the cloud so you could access them from anywhere. And most importantly, photos may be due to the fake artificial intelligence to solve what the company sees as the key issue of the cell phone era: we can take all the photos, but we see them
"We understood that you would never wake up or remember these moments," said Anil Sabharwal, vice president of Google, who currently heads the team that manages it. "You were going on a nice holiday, you took hundreds of amazing photos, years passed and you never saw them again."
When it started in 2015, Google Photos provided immediate relief. For example, face recognition makes it possible to share photos automatically. Now, when I take my kids, Google knows them and shares them with my wife; Your pictures are shared with me. Unbelievably, instantly and without having to think about it, each of us has a complete collection of photos of our children and the concern of keeping them safe has been eliminated.
Then, Google has daily reminders for you to remember. It's hard to overestimate how well Google machines will enter your collection and find new things to surprise you. In a series called iniz Before and After Google, Google will find photos of the same person or a group of people in similar poses in two different periods: your children are the first day of this year and the photo you took in the past year or ten years ago and today in front of the Empire State building.
Last month, Google launched a new device for the home, which is a voice-activated device with a screen that shows an infinite slide show with such nostalgic feed. It's magical. I've been with the Headquarters for over a week and have changed my experience with photos. They made their lives.
How the memories with artificial intelligence shape our narratives about ourselves.
And, even though it cost me to stop using Google Photos, I'm a little afraid of what it promises to the future. There are a number of social sciences researches that show how photographs change our memories in a meaningful way. A study proved that when we took a picture without thinking about our ability to recall events in the world around us, we were running low. The photographs also shape our perception of ourselves in creating new memories: A fake photo can convince you that something happens even if you've never been.
With all this in mind, I wonder how memories organized with artificial intelligence shape our narratives about ourselves. I think of Samara and the children like her – she will draw conclusions about her childhood, because Google has some non-profit technology companies that would one day look like Google & # 39; s videos, and fund advertising decisions. What kind of scenes they show and what to hide.
Currently, there is still a disaster: Google Photos videos happy and bright. However, if the story depends on who tells your story, Google Photos takes us to a new area.
Today, the machines increasingly understand our human world and shape our reality as deeply as possible and inevitably like the cameras themselves.