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The company trained one machine-learning model to find faces in an enormous number of pieces of images.
The model was too big, though, so they trained a smaller version on the outputs of the first. Every photo every i Phone takes is thanks, in some small part, to these millions of images, filtered twice through an enormous machine-learning system.
Google’s camera is not capturing what is, but what, statistically, is likely. It’s like commercial pilots flying planes: They are in manual control for only a tiny percentage of a given trip.
Our phone-computer-cameras seamlessly, invisibly blur the distinctions between things a camera can do and things a computer can do.
The one the company has described publicly helps with white balancing—which helps deliver realistic color in a picture—in low light.
It also told the Verge that “its machine learning detects what objects are in the frame, and the camera is smart enough to know what color they are supposed to have.” Consider how different that is from a normal photograph.
Over weeks of taking photos with the device, I realized that the camera had crossed a threshold between photograph and fauxtograph.
I wasn’t so much “taking pictures” as the phone was synthesizing them.
Speaking as a longtime i Phone user and amateur photographer, I find it undeniable that Portrait mode—a marquee technology in the latest edition of the most popular phones in the world—has gotten glowed up.
When a prominent You Tuber named Lewis Hilsenteger (aka “Unbox Therapy”) was testing out this fall’s new i Phone model, the XS, he noticed something: His skin was extra smooth in the device’s front-facing selfie cam, especially compared with older i Phone models.