In the world of photography, the line between capturing memories and creating illusions is becoming increasingly blurred. And this time too, artificial intelligence has a hand in it. Google Pixel 8the new top-of-the-range smartphone from the Mountain View giant, is equipped with a AI function built into the camera call Best Take, which allows users to quickly edit people’s faces in photographs. This technology promises to improve our ability to immortalize moments, but it also raises profound questions about the role of artificial intelligence in shaping visual narratives.
The Google Pixel 8’s AI rewrites the rules of photography
Google’s Best Take represents a notable step forward in the world of photography. Allows users to “correct” facial expressions, ensuring that every photograph appears just as desired. Whether it’s replacing frowns with smiles, eliminating closed eyes, or changing the direction of your subjects’ faces, Best Take delivers on its promise.
What it essentially does is examine all shots taken within a span of several seconds and propose a series of alternatives for each face to choose from. On a Pixel 8, Best Take is located in the Google Photos editing menu.
Based on what the user selects, Best Take extracts the face of the alternative and uses artificial intelligence to blend it into the original photo. It’s a Instant AI version of the Photoshop tool to crop someone’s head from one photo and paste it onto another. It potentially creates photographs of scenes that never actually happened, at least not all at the exact same time.
How to capture the perfect moment with Best Take
However, there are some idiosyncrasies in the system. To take full advantage of Best Take, you need to manage it similar to orchestrating a fashion shoot, constantly taking a series of photos to expand the range of options. Unfortunately it doesn’t take advantage of the camera’s video capabilities to provide a continuous stream of images.
To get that perfect smile in the final shot, you still need to convince the subject to take on a cheerful expression. Furthermore, the feature does not extend its capabilities to pets, leaving pet lovers without the ability to perfect their furry companion’s expressions.
Some tests have demonstrated occasional hiccups in Best Take’s performance. Oddities mostly noticeable when he distorted facial proportions or inadvertently cut off hands and glasses. With respect to these hitches the Product Manager di Google, Lillian Chenwas keen to point out that Best Take may struggle or only partially work when compared to substantial variations in the subject’s poseincluding changes in the distance between the subject and the camera.
From beauty to authenticity: the ethical dilemma of Best Take
While technology has long played an important role in improving photographs, Best Take introduces a new level of convenience. Unlike in the past, when getting the perfect shot required technical skills and knowledge of tools like Photoshop, now it’s easy, just a few taps on your smartphone. This accessibility can alter our perception of photography, leading us to question the authenticity of the moments we capture.
As convenient as Best Take is, its power lifts ethical concerns about the role of artificial intelligence in reshaping our memories as well as in standardize the ideals of happiness, beauty and perfection, often at the expense of authenticity. Google’s approach, while currently limited to a few seconds of captured moments, suggests a slippery slope.
If thanks to Google’s magic eraser you can easily eliminate intrusive elements from photos, nothing stops future iterations of Best Take from altering faces at any time or even offering fully synthetic versions of people in photos similar to selfie photo editing apps like Lensa AI.
Faced with the potential of artificial intelligence to dictate our visual narrative and set to cross the fine line between flawless and fake, the time has come to rethink our relationship with images and memories.
To know more: Artificial Intelligence, what it is and what it can do for us