FAKE images enter the mainstream. Smartphones cameras became extremely powerful in the last five years.

Their leap in quality was largely driven by advances in computational photography, a technology that uses algorithms, artificial intelligence and sensors to produce sharp, lifelike pictures.

NOW, we all can shoot stunning images that rival the work of professionals.

So what's next? I hate to say it : faker photos.

Google, which has long been an industry leader in smartphone photography, has started shipping the PIXEL 8, a $700 handset with a suite of A.I.powered photo-editing tools.

The phone software does much more than adjust the sharpness and brightness of a photo - it uses A.I. to generate imagery or to remove elements to give you exactly the photo you want.

Imagine, for instance, a photo in which a person's shoulder is cut off. With Google's software, you can now tap the Magic Editor button and scoot that person over the frame.

From there, the software will use A.I. to produce the rest of that person's shoulder.

OR consider a picture you shot of a friend in front of a historical monument, but the background is crowded with other tourists. Using the same editing tool, you can select the photo bombers and hit the Erase button.

In seconds, the strangers will vanish - and Google's software will automatically generate imagery to fill in the background.

Google has integrated these new A.I. editing tools into Google Photos, its free photo album app for Android devices and iPhones, which has more than one billion users. The company said the Pixel 8 was the first device with the A.I. editor.

Google's A.I. photo-editor is part of generative A.I., which became popular in the past year after the release of the ChatGPT chatbot, which produces text in response to prompts.

Image-based generative A.I. tools also let people create pictures by simply typing in prompts, such as '' a cat sleeping on a windowsill.''

But the Pixel 8 is a turning point. It is the first mainstream photo to bake generative A.I. directly into the photo creation process at no extra cost, pushing smartphone photography into an era when people will increasingly have to question whether what they see in their images is real - including photos from loved ones.

[ Apple's iPhone camera can add some artificial effects, such as a ''stage light,'' which brightens a subject and blacks out the background, but it stops short of generating fake imagery. ]

The Publishing continues. The World Students Society thanks author Brian X. Chen.


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