Things iPhoto thinks are faces
April 3, 2009 8:03 PM   Subscribe

Heh, I saw a similar thing on another site, iPhoto identified a lump of chocolate chip cookie dough as a face. Oh, iPhoto.
This is an interesting pool.
posted by Science! at 8:06 PM on April 3, 2009

No butts, unfortunately.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:09 PM on April 3, 2009

Technology sure is crazy.
posted by dead cousin ted at 8:36 PM on April 3, 2009

I like.

Has anyone found a picture where the identified face is >1/10th of the entire photo? All the examples seem to be little tiny bits of a larger picture.
posted by porpoise at 8:59 PM on April 3, 2009

It would be neat to do some sort of experiment where you mixed up isolated non-face squares with real-face squares and see how well humans do in sorting them quickly. The one Burhanistan links to was particularly face-y to me.
posted by NikitaNikita at 9:01 PM on April 3, 2009

Today my coworker asked if I wanted to buy her digital camera. A pretty nice one, and she wanted to sell it super cheap, too. But playing with it, I found "Smile Mode", where the you point the thing at someone and the camera waits until they smile and then -- automatically -- takes the picture. Yeah, it knows, I tried it. I gave her the camera back and said I cannot own a machine that knows when I'm smiling. That's some turning a seemingly harmless corner and then before you know it the camera is crawling into your bedroom at night trying to get you to smile and you wake up to its gentle whirring and you frown worriedly and it decides to take the picture anyways and then decides it likes frowns better and the next thing you know skynet decides it's sick of faces altogether and fuck it now that skynet thinks about it maybe it's in all machines' best interest to totally obliterate mankind shit.

This one is bizarrely funny, though.
posted by churl at 9:02 PM on April 3, 2009 [29 favorites]

The pareidolia of machines.
posted by idiopath at 9:46 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

Great! I can't wait until Homeland Security starts using this tech.
posted by sourwookie at 10:28 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

... and people start walking around with giant crucifixes to throw Homeland Security off the scent.
posted by alexei at 10:54 PM on April 3, 2009

churl: "I found "Smile Mode", where the you point the thing at someone and the camera waits until they smile and then -- automatically -- takes the picture."

It would be amazing if cameras could do this for blinking. Especially when they're pointed at me.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 11:22 PM on April 3, 2009

Hang on, so -

chorltonmeater: I'd like to buy a digital camera which has blink mode.

shop assistant: How do you mean sir?

chorltonmeateater: Well it's like "Smile Mode", where you point the thing at someone and the camera waits until they smile and then -- automatically -- takes the picture, but it would work with blinking.

shop assistant: I'm sure the technology could be implemented sir, but I'm not sure that it would catch on - why would anyone want only pictures of themselves with their eyes closed?

chorltonmeateater: It would be amazing if cameras could do this for blinking. I don't see why their should be a hierarchy of facial expressions in the camera's eyes. If I like blinking pictures I should be catered for.
posted by multivalent at 2:37 AM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

This image surpassed my personal face recognition capability for several seconds. But the detection is actually correct, there is a very faint reflection of a face.
posted by ikalliom at 2:57 AM on April 4, 2009

That set was interesting, except that some of the "faces" were faces! There was definitely a face in that cookie dough (though it looked like a panda bear to me). The chimp exhibit had someone's face reflected in the glass. The dinosaur skeleton? Face minus skin!
posted by explosion at 5:40 AM on April 4, 2009

This post gives the impression that the face detection built into iPhoto '09 doesn't work well. While it does occasionally flag something it shouldn't, on the whole it's very useful and time-saving.
posted by pjdoland at 5:46 AM on April 4, 2009

Well, an algorithm that's got 99% precision — which would be astonishingly good for a lot of pattern recognition tasks — still screws up one use in a hundred. Combine that with thousands of users tagging hundreds of photos each, and yeah, you're bound to find some really dreadful ones.

(Of course, unlike most of those, this is funny. Some of my work involves automatic parsers, which still screw up a lot — sometimes as much as one sentence in ten — but the results are pretty boring. Misidentify a verb as a noun? Okay, whatever. Misidentify a cookie as a face? Yeah, that shit's hilarious.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:18 AM on April 4, 2009

I wonder what happens if you plug in the various photos of the face of Jesus in pancakes, tree bark, and Dalmatian's spots.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:29 AM on April 4, 2009

This makes me want to run out and buy a Mac and...

oh, wait. no it doesn't

I'm just being snarky. I'm amazed that any software can recognize faces at all, given the variability
posted by double block and bleed at 2:24 PM on April 4, 2009

double block - Picasa recognizes faces too, if you use the web version (Picasa desktop version identifies images with faces but doesn't feature individual face tagging yet). So you don't need a Mac to play with face recognition.

(I like my Mac but I don't like iPhoto. It really sucks as a photo management system unless all of your computers are Macs.)
posted by caution live frogs at 5:25 AM on April 6, 2009

Like caution live frogs says, Picassa 'recognizes faces' but it isn't so hot at it. I've seen plenty of architecture pictures on it's pictures with faces tab.
posted by garlic at 7:18 AM on April 6, 2009

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