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November 22, 2023

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Screenshot 2023-11-22 at 8.32.29 AM

Clive Thompson titled his analysis "When AI-Photo-Stitching Goes Wrong."

What he wrote:

As Tessa Coates writes on her Instagram photo here, "I went wedding dress shopping and the fabric of reality crumbled."

At first glance, the photo might seem fine — until you realize her hands are in different positions in the two mirrors, neither of which match what her hands are doing in reality.

This isn't a photoshop; it's how the iPhone took the picture. What went wrong?

She consulted with an Apple Genius bar employee who said it's a wild example of the iPhone's photo software, which often uses several takes of a picture to stitch one final image together.

As he said ...

... mobile phones are essentially miniature computers with camera functions, and even when the live photo setting isn't enabled, they automatically capture a sequence of images from left to right. 

Furthermore, he elaborated that at the precise moment when the camera moved behind Tessa's back, she must have inadvertently raised her hands, resulting in an "artificial intelligence decision" creating a completely distinct set of images on the other side.

Given that iPhones are in such common use — as well as Pixel phones, which ship with similar software — I wonder what implication this will have for the forensic use of everyday smartphone photos in court.

November 22, 2023 at 12:22 PM | Permalink


Wow, fascinating. It took me a little while to spot the arms being different.

Posted by: Gregory Perkins | Nov 22, 2023 2:05:18 PM

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