New photo-editing tools are changing reality

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The Future. While photo-editing tools have been around for years, touch-up tools on Google’s new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro phones make Instagram filters look antiquated, giving users unprecedented accessibility and ease in “capturing” the perfect shot. Soon, Instagram may be littered with not just touched-up pics but also photos of entirely fictionalized moments.

Fake smiles
The photo touch-up tools on Google’s new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro phones make Instagram filters look antiquated.

  • The “Best Take” feature allows users to swap out faces from a series of shots to craft the one where everybody is smiling, has their eyes open, and is having a good hair day.
  • The “Magic Editor” tool gives users the power to move themselves around the photo, change the color of objects, and even alter the time of day.
  • The “Magic Eraser” tool lets users delete unwanted people or things from the background (also available to Google Photos users).
  • And as a little bonus for videos, the “Audio Magic Eraser” feature can get rid of unwanted background noise.

How do the Pixel phones pull this off? Generative AI, of course, which looks at the image and guesses what should be there. As Google’s AI system continues to develop, it may become impossible to tell which images are genuine and which are slyly manipulated… even for deepfake-forensic software.

It could make the plot of last year’s movie Not Okay suddenly feel like a period piece.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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