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The discreet rise of the ubiquitous photo

One of the most important announcement during Google latest release event has mainly passed under the radar or simply dismissed as a gadget. The Pixel Clip camera is a small device that can be attached anywhere and, using a simple A.I.,  continuously takes photos when it recognizes familiar faces. Perfect for busy parents who like to record everything but do not want to break the moment by picking up their phones to take a picture. But, beyond the convenience, Google just might have open the door to a new type of photography, one that is powered by smart IoT’s and is completely ubiquitous.

Beyond face recognition, the Pixel Clip also delivers  A.I. powered content editing, selecting for the users the “good” images, eliminating one of the biggest roadblocks of past lifelogging devices. Not more spending hours sifting through massive volume of images.   With most of the tasks taken over by A.I., selecting the right subject (only people you care about) and selecting the right images ( eyes not closed), the Clip frees users of 90% of their decisions.  And by being always on – no more need to remember to take a picture – it also frees them from having to step out of a moment to pick up a camera. In other words, it almost liberates them entirely of every task involved in the photographic process.  Photography will no longer be something you have to think about, it will just happen. Welcome to the new world of photography.

Ubiquitous and everywhere

If successfully adopted by the marketplace, the Clip will lead the way to having all of our home devices functioning the same way. From the front door to the fridge, without forgetting the TV,  lamps, lawn mower,  pretty much any electronic IoT in your house could also start taking pictures, using the same process.Your home life will be continuously photographed for posterity without anyone having to ever push a button.  No moments will ever be missed, from birthdays to parties, as well as those cute pet photos. Some, even, could be automatically shared with your social media friends and family, after carefully selecting an authorization filter.

Who owns the copyright?

Since no human beings actually pushes a button to select when a frame is taken, copyright ownership could be disputed. One could argue that the person turning the camera on ( and off) should be considered the operator. Or rather, that it should be owned by the software engineer, who has programmed the camera to decide when ( or when not) to take an image. Or, as the per the 2014 decision of the Copyright Office states, there is no copyright since the images were taken by a non-human. Needless to say, the dispute will arise in courts and not unlike the infamous monkey selfie copyright issue, legislation will need to be updated to reflect whether artificial intelligence can have a claims to copyright.

No privacy?

Your fridge might end up being your best camera

Obviously,  privacy concerns will also be an issue. Maybe most of us would prefer not to have all our private moment photographed, even if most would be automatically deleted by the editing A.I. and the rest held secure in private storage. But the decision here will be emotional, rather than rational. Once convinced that those lost moments finally captured hold more value than our privacy, there will be no holding back.

Back to the living of life

Ubiquitous photography is here to stay, only if because it frees us from the menial tasks of the photographic process.  As a lazy society addicted to taking (and sharing) pictures of just about everything, it perfectly fits our needs. As machines take over the task of documenting our lives, we just might find ourselves more involved in enjoying it, rather than continuously trying to capturing it.



Note: This article was previously published in a different version in our sister publication, Kaptur

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