When testing many smartphone cameras, I used the Pixel 8 to snap photos of my dogs -Max, a corgi, and Mochi, a brown Labrador -and then applied the A.I.

The results were hit and miss.

In one photo of Max sitting on a large rock, I wanted to remove a citation form from a police officer for letting my dogs run off leash without a permit in an off-leash dog park.

In the Google Photos app, I tapped the Magic Editor button and traced an outline around the piece of paper.

The software did a remarkable job. It replaced the maddening piece of bureaucracy with the rock slab and some pine needles.

But another try wasn't so good. In a photo of a pizza restaurant where Mochi's face was cut off in the frame, I tried moving her over to test if the A.I. could generate the rest of her head.

I didn't expect the software to perfectly reproduce her grizzled mug, but the A.I. produced something nightmarish, a half-demi-god hellbound with a pair of hooves sprouting from her legs.

It is early days, and Google expects people to run into imperfections.

'' While this new, experimental technology will open up exciting editing possibilities, we know there might be times when the result isn't exactly what you imagined,'' the company said in a blogpost about Magic Editor.

'' Your feedback will be important in helping us improve it over time.''

HERE'S my feedback : I don't think these A.I. editing tools should be featured so prominently in the photos app of a flagship smartphone, especially in the imperfect state.

And even when the technology matures, there are broader issues - such as the ethical  issues of artificial images - to consider and navigate.

Editing photos for clarity and brightness improves an image without altering its substance.

But artificially adding elements to a photo crosses a threshold, rendering an image a fake.

Using these A.I. tools to produce and share photos could contribute to the spread of fake media online when misinformation is already rampant and it's hard to know what to trust.

The World Students Society thanks Brian X. Chen.


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