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Photo by Mitchell Luo / Unsplash

The perfect example of how mindless AI can be one massive mistake

I've got tens of thousands of photographs. Lots of travel versions, but most of those were taken with a bona fide camera. My phone, which sends them to Google photos in the cloud?

Well, that's the eye-witness to a life full of bumps, bruises and much worse. Stuff that frankly, unless there is a really good reason for me to revisit the scene, I'd prefer to let those visions sit in the dark.  

Let me explain.

I use my phone to take critically-important photos, not just sunsets and curated closeups of my nasal cavity. If there's an accident, the phone records it. My phone is also an extension of my sense of humor when I photograph a smashed finger after a hammer went astray, that kind of thing.

Watch where that hammer goes....Julia Hubbel

My phone has decided to entertain me every so often with collections that some bot curates. Sometimes it catches my eye, most of the time not. I already have plenty of distractions. These days my intention is to reduce them.

Lately however, Google Photos, in that idiotic way that computer minds think they know what they're doing, started sending me a collection of close-ups of my face.

This is highly likely to appeal to the narcissist in all of us, which is the whole point. It's not enough to take selfies; now our phones send us collages of our selfies so that we can stare, fascinated, at multiple images of ourselves.

Dear god when did we get so self-absorbed?

The collection fades into the next photo, cue emotional music, then the next, all of them giving me plenty of ways to view my beloved face.

Only one problem.

All the curated photos are post-injury. They range from head wounds to black eyes, to bleeding from a cheetah's swat to the cheek.

post ER Julia Hubbel

I'm not much for selfies. Most are taken because I want or need to document something for my doctor, not because I am compelled to make a kissy face for the screen (mine would break, thank you).

So rather than have my ego soothed by lovely soft-focus shots of yours truly, Google Photos is regaling me with reminders of my battered and bloodied body.

Swelling emotional music accompanies closeups of my swollen eyelid, bloodied forehead, long drips of blood on my bright green T-shirt.

Lovely, and thanks, Google Photos.

Just the kind of gentle reminder I need.

Look. I can't speak for anyone else, but for my part, while I find this hilarious, it is precisely the problem with AI.

Recently even Elon Musk signed a petition to control the rampant expansion of AI products. I tend to agree, although our motivations won't always match up.

While most of it likely won't affect me- well, until a bot can do what I do in the world and write about it with the same ability, which isn't going to happen because MY stories are real- AI is here. People are using it without much consideration for the outcomes.

This silly photo collage is a perfect example of insensitivity of the non-human products. Non-human often ends up being inhumane.

For people who are easily triggered, imagine. Every time you look at your phone some image or collection of images might pop up and send you spinning, simply because you forgot they existed.

Suddenly and without warning you're thrown back into a horrible car accident.


Prefer not to, thanks. Julia Hubbel

I actually got a photo collage of this accident. Not making this up.  

Um, Yes I recall that day. I'd rather not.

AI is thoughtless, therefore dangerous. I can handle being handed photos of some of my worst moments, because I find them funny.

Not all of us can.

The way I see it, further reason to further myself from my digital products.

You can legitimately argue that I should remove all those photos. Interestingly they have a purpose and I actually use them every so often, and the cloud is the best place to keep them. Right now I am searching for a setting which can put a stop to these curations.

However, the larger message is this: in the effort to grab our eyeballs, this kind of mindlessness threatens to do more damage than it needs to.

Another perfect reason to minimize time on our digital devices. Be in life.

Life, like Nature, is ever so much better than AI.

To that, a photo without blood:

Happily bloodless. I can do this. Julia Hubbel

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