MIT’s New Tool Erases Anything (Or Anyone) From Old Photos

from Fast Company

We’re all guilty of the Crop. You know, that group photo where you look so good that–sorry bestie, apologies grandma, see ya, ex–you carefully crop the other person out.

But what if there was a tool that could erase people and things automatically–a magic wand that could do hours of imperfect Photoshop work in an instant? Now, thanks to an MIT Media Lab project led by Matt Groh, that tool is real–if still imperfect.

Dubbed Deep Angel, it’s an AI that lives inside a simple-to- use website, which will scan photos you upload, or even your Instagram feed, for people, dogs, cats, snowboards, bowls, buses, traffic lights, pizzas, and teddy bears, to name a few, and automatically erase those things from your photos, according to your wishes.

As an image-conscious millennial, I fed my own Instagram feed into the machine in an attempt to improve my past. For as confusing as AI can be, Groh’s team has built a remarkably simple front-end interface to control it. In one column, you select what you’d like to remove from your photos, and in the right column, you select your source material.

More here.

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21 Responses to MIT’s New Tool Erases Anything (Or Anyone) From Old Photos

  1. Amber Stile October 10, 2018 at 4:58 pm #

    This is such an interesting article regarding the growth of Data and AI systems. While ‘deleting’ people or things from photos has always been an option through cropping or editing them out, this shows the AI is growing intelligence. To be able to recognize a car in a photo and remove it rather than needing a specific description shows an increase in data knowledge, most likely due to increased usage. This could also be seen as an incredibly beneficial feature for those experiencing a break-up or even applying for a job – once it’s improved, of course.

    As the author states, we live in an overwhelmingly image-conscious era where people can watch everything we do and see the most private aspects of our lives. If high school wasn’t embarrassing enough, now people have to be concerned about their online appearances as well as physical appearances. The benefit to this software is that we no longer have to delete something entirely when we want just a small aspect of it removed – we simply remove that aspect. So, when someone is out of a relationship, they no longer have to remove all of the photos where they thought they looked great, they can just request that Deep Angel remove their ex from the photos. Aside from that, the more beneficial feature is geared with future employers in mind. In high school and college, partying is a common thing and when people post photos showing themselves intoxicated, it shines a poor light on them. Rather than having to remove all of their fun times, applicants can now just remove the alcohol from their photos and it just seems like them having fun with friends.

    Now, there is certainly a while before this AI can be used to it’s best potential, but the fact that it was created means that there is a new round of AI’s that will be formed to compete with it. It’s truly exciting to see where our society will take us as we move forward. It’s also interesting to think of how employer’s will develop AI to counteract this to see the true sides of their applicants.

  2. Paul Lee October 11, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    This article was more than fascinating; it shows how an AI can slowly learn to do simple things like editing a photo for mankind. I like to read and learn about new technological innovations from robots to simple applications. I also like to test out new technology that come out on the market and see if this could impact an individual in any way. Mankind today is constantly coming with state-of-the-art technology that can make a huge difference in the world. It is wonderful and makes me ecstatic to see many people challenge each other or try to improve life with their technology. Many of the fascinating technology today is AI as it becomes more and more relevant, many people question AI and what could happen if they learn too much.
    Reading this article that says an MIT Media Lab Project led by Matt Groh that allows a person to use MIT AI called Deep Angel to erase or “crop” out humans, objects, or animals. I could not believe what I was reading and I thought this project was lazy because many people, especially my peers, take editing photos for social media serious. Reading this article, I can see that this AI could prove to be very useful. Many people do a decent job in cropping out the desired part of the photo, but it is evident that they did crop out with the photo being warped or the imagery is bent out of shape. Deep Angel, that apparently lives inside an easy to use website which scan the photos you upload to it and erases the part of the photos you do not want. What surprises me even more is that Deep Angel can investigate your Instagram feed and edit the photos which I thought was very smart for this AI to work well with Instagram as many people edit and upload their pictures for Instagram.
    I understand that Deep Angel still needs to learn as it tends not to properly erase out certain aspects of a photo. It will learn because it is an AI, it will improve and know what it can do to make human lives easier. This program or AI is very dangerous, in my opinion, but also very useful that many people could use. I say that this is dangerous because the point that Mark Wilson writes in the article that powerful leaders could use this AI for propaganda to erase certain parts of history. This was a very strong point that many people around the world need to consider especially the countries with dictatorship. With this thinking, it led me to understand that many people around the world using Deep Angel could manipulate their photos and bluntly lie about it to other people. This AI could cause deep mistrust and very deep lies that could affect many people.
    Even thought it is dangerous, I believe the intent of the MIT group that created this project was to create an AI that is very useful and can crop or edit photos for people. They wanted to create simplicity for people, make their lives easier and have a better result than if they had done it themselves. For that, I deeply respect them as they are innovators trying to impact the world with their invention. This AI, Deep Angel, is still in the early works and needs a few bugs to be fixed but I am looking forward on how it will shape our world and photography.

  3. Alex Fialkowsky October 12, 2018 at 10:40 am #

    The AI product marketed as Deep Angel is an early program that allows people to remove whole objects or people from photos. This product was marketed to people as a tool to remove things such as photo-bombers, exes, etc. But it could be very dangerous if used for the wrong reasons. It may seem simple and harmless right now, but having the ability to remove anyone or anything from photographs is a dangerous power if it is in the wrong hands. The perfect example would be if someone committed a crime and there was photographic evidence. If the criminal were to have access to this program, as well as those photos they could almost clear their name in a matter of minutes. The technology could also be taken advantage of for reasons of propaganda. For example, if the US is attempting to provide foreign aid to a country and they decide to take photos, they could use this program to remove unsightly things from the background that could change the perspective and motive of the image. Perhaps if there wasn’t full cooperation between the soldiers and the people, so they had to restrain a few with zip ties. The men could pose for a photo, smiling, and know fully well that those people who are detained will not be in the photo. Photographs and media are a vast portion of our information in the world, and the day we perfect technology that allows us to tamper with this information, it could mean the end of the truth. If this technology is used for the wrong reasons, people of power and influence could be literally deleted from history. In my opinion I find this all very horrifying and it makes me worry about the future of this country. In a perfect world, this technology would not be used for such purposes, unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world and must expect and plan for any action that could occur from this.

  4. Michelle Vekshteyn October 12, 2018 at 3:15 pm #

    This article is so relatable. I think that everyone has had a bad experience with a picture. Whether someone posts an unwanted picture of you, or you really like how you look in a picture and want to crop the other people out.. we have all been there. I know for a fact that I love how I look in pictures from a couple of years ago, but I can no longer post the pictures because I am not friends with those people anymore. Sometimes I love how I look, but my friends will not let me post something because they do not like how they look… or vice versa. It all sounds so silly, but that is the reality of social media in today’s day and age. Thankfully MIT is working on a Media Lab project where anyone could upload a picture to their website, “Deep Angel”, and erase an object or a person from the photo. Instead of having to use Photoshop, which most people don’t have/ don’t know how to use, a simple click of a few buttons will do the work for you. Once again we are seeing a technological breakthrough to have humans do less work. Deep Angel is described as being, an AI that lives inside a simple-to- use website, which will scan photos you upload, or even your Instagram feed, for people, dogs, cats, snowboards, bowls, buses, traffic lights, pizzas, and teddy bears, to name a few, and automatically erase those things from your photos, according to your wishes.” I was obviously curious to see how this website worked, so I tested it myself. I uploaded a picture of me and someone that I no longer speak to, and I clicked “I seek to remove a person”. Sadly, this blurred out both myself and the person, and did not give me the results that I was hoping to see. As seen at the bottom of the article, the author also tried and received blurry blotchy results. Obviously, the website is new and is still a project in the works, so I was not surprised that the quality of the task being promised was not perfect. I must say to the creator of this website, Matt Groh, that once this advances, it will be a big hit and he will have credit for a great idea. I am sure that this will improve in months to come, and will be of popular demand/usage when the website really fulfills what it is intended to do.

  5. Cassie Sibilski October 12, 2018 at 3:32 pm #

    This article about an AI program was very interesting and really shows what a modern day and age we are in. It talked of a program called “Deep Angle” that could basically erase a specific thing from one image or many at a time through its program. The idea is that you pick something; example; cat, pizza, or a specific person, that you want erased from a photo. The program can supposedly recognize these items/people and will erase them. This is meant to be used as a photo editing tool, or to be able to “clean up” a social media profile. In theory this kind of technology seems like it can be very useful and practical for social media users, but like everything else, it has its flaws. The example photos that were in the article that were edited, did not look perfect, in fact they looked extremely distorted. That said, I’m sure it won’t be long before issues like this will be resolved. Once the program is cleaned up and the process becomes streamlined enough so that photos don’t look altered even after they are, this program can really become popular. In today’s world, people are constantly judged by everything they are doing online, especially by potential employers. When people interview for a job today, it’s probably very likely the interviewer looked for your social media profiles prior to you possibly getting the job. This means that people are probably looking for a way to clean up their social media account photos without erasing entire photos. This program could be the answer, and I’m sure a technology such as this one can be taken even further to be able to do other similar functions. That would end up furthering the popularity of a program like this as its use could span across many uses. Overall this type of technology is very interesting and the fact that a program can “erase” something out of an image completely is pretty futuristic seeming if you ask me. I look forward to seeing what other programs such as this one develop over the next few years.

  6. Sandra C October 12, 2018 at 3:52 pm #

    Social media a huge part of daily lives for many young adults and kids today. When it come to removing something from a photo, it seems impossible unless a green screen was involved. However, MIT Media has given us the skills to be able to edit a photo almost like a professional. Now there seems to be an app or website for everything, even removing objects.This kind of website excites me and is something I believe will be a great addition to the way that millennials post pictures on social media. The users of sites like Instagram and Snapchat are constantly using filters and stickers to enhance the way their image looks. This website is also incredibly intelligent. It can scan a picture and take out exactly what the user asks it to take out. Not only is this smart, but it can be helpful when trying to save time editing a photo.
    My concerns for this is how great is it really. There is only so much that you can cover up when removing an object from a picture. After looking at the article, this can easily be seen when they tried to remove a car from a picture. One can notice the picture was edited by the gaping hole that is covered up by pixelated colors or duplicated images to match the rest of the picture. I do believe that this will become useful when trying to delete small items from pictures. For example, a garbage can from a photo. Because of how quickly something can blow up in this generation. I can see this becoming a new “meme.” It can be funny to see a change in pictures, whether it is an ex significant other or friend, this app can turn a picture carrying bad memories into one that is funny. However, this is only the beginning of this technology, and with already being off to a great start, it is exciting to see what is to come.

  7. Petar Micevski October 12, 2018 at 4:10 pm #

    The distortion of certain objects from photos is simply the beginning of cracking the mind of an AI. Because of AI’s mannerisms, it is able to learn from its mistakes. What makes an AI such a superior being to the human is its ability to store and recall information. By executing certain methods, the AI is able to observe which method progresses the most and uses that as a basis to advance towards its programmed objective. However, the ability to erase a certain object from one angle of a photo requires consistent tracking and immense calculation. This is because an AI has to try and estimate what the photo looked like without the object intact. Anyways, with this tool, many doors are open for exploration due to its impact on the internet.
    Throughout the semester, I have read many articles about issues with privacy on the internet. With the ability to distort certain images, we would be able to not only protect our privacy but also change history as we know it. Some of this history might include something minute, like a breakup. On a greater scale, we could digitally wipe out sections of future events such as a crash or a war. This could potentially cause problems because some countries might use this technology to wipe out negative events about themselves. With this in mind, it really brings a major question into the discussion: How much of history should we be allowed to delete? Personally, I believe that all of history is important because we should be able to learn from our mistakes. By choosing to “save” our reputation, we are not allowing ourselves to learn from our mistakes. It is through history that we learn from our mistakes and establish our culture. If we were able to wipe out certain nationalities form the digital world, humans would have the power to protect their citizens from certain geographic areas or cultural ideas. Some of these ideas were present before AIs when the United States covered Area 51 on Google Maps so Google could keep Area 51 private and undisclosed. If we were able to conceal certain areas then, imagine how much AI programming can help us perfect technologies. In fact, AI’s are evident in the smallest of things. One AI that I read about was Deep Blue, an AI built to master chess. 20 years ago, people thought that chess was a game that was too advanced for a computer. Deep Blue was made to learn from every game it lost. Eventually, it started to learn algorithms that were the best move against every beginning move. Once it knew the first best move, it used that algorithm as a benchmark to find the next best move. Deep Blue was the first AI to defeat the world chess champion at the time (Garry Kasparov). Currently, the strongest chess AI is Google’s Alphazero with a chess rank of 3600+. The reigning world champ’s rank is 3100. This is a simple example of Artificial Intelligence’s basic skills operate. As we learn to clean up their programming, we will be able to achieve something that comes very close to perfection.
    So why should we be excited about AIs? They will be able to change things for the better. But what’s so special about them? They can only get better.

  8. Amanda Nitting October 12, 2018 at 4:16 pm #

    As each day goes by, there are advancements being made in the technology world whether the public is aware of it or not. The pace at which technology is progressing is fascinating and concerning at the same time. There is so much that happens behind the scenes that most people do not understand, which is resulting in the demand for learning information technology. At MIT there was a Media Lab project lead by Matt Groh where the development of Deep Angel was started. This AI technology has the potential to be able to “which will scan photos you upload, or even your Instagram feed, for people, dogs, cats, snowboards, bowls, buses, traffic lights, pizzas, and teddy bears, to name a few, and automatically erase those things from your photos, according to your wishes” (Wilson). Although the team that began Deep Angel has not perfected all its abilities yet, they are predicting this artificial intelligence to adapt and better the results of the job.
    One of the interesting aspects of Deep Angel is that Mr. Groh put emphasis on making it user-friendly so that the public will be able to utilize this tool. Not only that but since this is still in its beginning stages, artificial intelligence will improve over time and find the best solution to this. In the article, it displays several images of the quality Deep Angel is producing at the moment which is impressive. Although it is not perfect and the objects or people that are supposed to be completely erased from the photo make the image blurred in that section, there is significant potential for full success. This tool is on a completely different level than just using the crop tool or other Photoshop editing agents. Those who have mastered the skills and tools in Photoshop might be able to do a better job at erasing undesired portions of a photo right now, but as AI continues to grow and learn the right algorithms, it will surpass other editing applications.
    When I was first reading this article, my first impression was that this type of technology is fascinating. Personally, I have no experience with artificial intelligence and have learned very little about it. With that being said, it is obvious that it is an up and coming thing that is expected to have promising results. Although at first glance it seems that this would be all positive innovations for society. However, with AI still adapting, I cannot help but wonder how far some will try to use AI with everyday things. With the Deep Angel tool, it is has the potential to be as simple as erasing those one wishes to remove from a photo, but what is next? It is interesting to see how much AI will be incorporated into other activities. For me, it appears that this could get out of hand and this occurred to me when the article stated, “Soon, you really will be able to say ‘delete Mark from all my photos,’ and preserve those moments as otherwise pristine photographic memories” (Wilson). Even though it would be mind-blowing to many people, I am battling whether or not we have crossed the line. There are instances when people crop and try to remove things or people from photos because bad memories are attached, but Deep Angel might make it way too easy which could be problematic. Technology as a whole is moving so much faster than most can comprehend and that poses concern since there is so much that is already out and only a small portion understand how it all works.

  9. Nora Trapp October 12, 2018 at 4:32 pm #

    One thing that stood out to me while reading this piece was a glimpse into the future. Specifically, at the end of this article Wilson says, “Soon, you really will be able to say “delete Mark from all my photos,” and preserve those moments as otherwise pristine photographic memories.” It is crazy to think that we live in a generation where we are moving to such a technology advanced society that futuristic statements no longer seem like the future, but rather just around the corner. Every other day we are introduced to a technology that was another advancement of an existing form, or in some cases even a whole new branch of unknown technology. We live in a world where the line between fantasy and reality is so slim that sometimes we can’t even tell the difference. This new form of AI is exactly another example of reality being tested. Living in the world we live in today we need to think about the future generations. What kind of society will they live in? Will childrens books still exist? Does school now transform into an evolutionary technology where teachers can be portalled into every student’s home? These are all my personal assumptions, but how unrealistic is it to think that first hand human interaction will be uncertain when it comes to the next generation?

  10. Joseph Capouch October 12, 2018 at 7:44 pm #

    The article “MIT’s New Tool Erases Anything (Or Anyone) From Old Photos” had a lot of interesting information. With everyone carrying phones that take pictures, social media being very popular, and technology making it all around so easy to snap a picture and share it with your friends, picture editing tools have a pretty significant use. Programs like Photoshop have been around for years, and the ability to crop, add filters, add captions, or otherwise modify pictures that people have taken has become more and more common. The idea of turning that process into something done by a tool that uses artificial intelligence, like Deep Angel, is something really interesting. Personally I had not seen something like this coming, even though it does make perfect sense. This is especially true with its ability to edit an entire group of photos, like those compiled into a person’s Instagram feed, as was mentioned in the article. There’s a lot of potential there, examples like removing a person from social media page after a particularly difficult break up, or simply just reducing the clutter in pictures by removing certain objects to make the photo more appealing.
    However, when discussing this technology, Deep Angel, in particular, it is clearly limited. The author supplied examples of his own photos that he used this tool on, and the results seemed less than perfect to say the least. The removal of objects often resulted in a lot of blurriness being added to the picture, and in a lot of cases made the picture overall unappealing. Not only that, but it also at times didn’t even remove the object entirely, although it did distort it in some ways, the object was left still recognizable. While this may be somewhat disappointing, the idea for the technology remains an impressive and innovative one. With the speed at which tech like this can be improved upon, and advanced, a more efficient and ideal version of Deep Angel could very well be seen in the near future, I believe.
    One last interesting topic that caught my attention while reading this article was the idea of something like this being used as a “propaganda machine that can reach back into photographic time”, as the author stated. This is probably the idea for this tool mentioned that has the most significant impact. Given implications like this, it is possible that artificial intelligence that can manipulate pictures more cleanly and leave them looking unaltered may make a huge impact in the political world. Perhaps some people in high positions will create, or otherwise get their hands on this type of technology before other people (or already have), while the public is left with imperfect tools like Deep Angel to use on their social media feeds. If this is the case it raises ideas like how expensive something like this would be to use or own, what kinds of regulations may be put on to users or photos that they have edited, and so on. All of these things will surely be clarified as this technology is advanced, and more news is brought forward on the subject.

  11. Justin Heath October 12, 2018 at 10:19 pm #

    The idea of having an application which can seamlessly crop out anything from an image sounds like a very useful tool. Similar to what was said in the article, I am very conscious of what I put on my social media because of how it is taken into consideration during the employment process. There have been many instances where I couldn’t post a picture because of a friend being inappropriate in the background. It would be much more practical to be able to completely delete something from a photo rather than conspicuously blurring things.
    When I first heard of this in a class discussion I wasn’t too impressed because I’ve had experience cropping things out of pictures in photoshop using the autofill and stamp tools. Then again, the autofill tool has its flaws in recognizing what to copy into the space, and the stamp tool is extremely tedious. From the looks of it, this Deep Angel program seems to have just about the same functionality and flaws as the autofill tool on photoshop, but it is interesting to see that the program is able to scan and identify objects to delete. Hopefully as the AI in this program enhances we will see more seamless deletion of objects from photos and be able to use this in our day to day lives.

  12. Marco V. October 12, 2018 at 10:56 pm #

    The article, “MIT’s New Tool Erases Anything (Or Anyone) From Old Photos” caught my attention. Artificial intelligence has sprung to new levels as more companies look to bank on the area. Such companies include Amazon which uses artificial intelligence in all aspects of their business. Their number one selling device is Alexa powered products. The artificial intelligence gathers information about the consumer which can be profited from in a variety of ways. Deep Angel will continue to grow and as stated it will be a way to have the perfect picture. This new tool has the initiative to become an independent app which can offer consumers a way to salvage a great picture. Companies may look to buy the tool and develop it even further or the creators can choose to license the technology once it is ready. Moore’s Law has defined the path for artificial intelligence and how the growth will continue. Artificial intelligence can recognize an abundant amount of things it is taught through machine learning and deep learning. One day the erasing tool might be controlled through Alexa and delete or modify anything within the picture in order to make it image worthy.

  13. Dimitri Drosos October 15, 2018 at 8:20 pm #

    I think that this article could also be named ‘Picture Perfect’. At first I thought it was a tad awkward that somebody could just delete something or someone from a picture as if they were never there, but then I came to realize that this innovative breakthrough is very useful. Imagine taking a photograph of a beautiful sunset and then have it ruined by a bird just happening to fly by at the exact same moment. Deep Angel is the newest hero in the fight against unnecessary objects in pictures. One of the best parts I found from this article is that, although it is still raw, the time consumed using Deep Angel is much less compared to regular photo-shopping apps. There is definitely a great deal of potential here.
    On Popular Photography’s website, the finalists were announced for the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. While many of these photos are funny, I can find one that could use Deep Angel. There is a picture of a bear hanging onto a sign encouraging being safe; in the background, there is another sign that I feels takes some attention from the foreground. It is a great photo, but this highlights another great use of this program: the ability to erase distracting objects.
    This is quite a big event in photography. There are so many advances in the technological area of this art; cameras are more compact and produce higher quality pictures. What Deep Angel is doing, however, will make photography more interesting for everybody. Whether you are an amateur or a professional, there is use for this technology. Overall, it is amazing.

  14. Warren Vetter October 26, 2018 at 3:23 pm #

    We have all had that one photo that you really want to post onto social media, but there is that one thing that makes you think this picture is ugly. Now with the development of Deep Angel creates by MIT those picture can quickly go from unpostable to postable. Deep Angel will also help you forget about your crazy past that you are trying to forget. The development of Deep Angel just shows how far Technology has come. Even though it does have its issue that it can crash when you upload to many photos at once it will continue to improve. Having Deep Angel helping people photoshop their photos is very time saving. People spend hours trying to make their pictures “picture perfect” and now with Deep Angel it can take minutes. Not only will this help ordinary people imlprove their photos, but it will also help professional photographers improve their pictures as well. The development of this new technology is quite facinating and it’s exciting to see that people keep coming up with great ideas to help people who may not be the best photo-shoppers. The only thing that im a little cautious about Deep Angel is that third party websites can easily see these and that these photos can be saved to your personal data. I would just be cautious about what photos I am uploading to Deep Angel.

  15. Alexis Job November 2, 2018 at 6:47 pm #

    MIT’s innovative idea behind their Deep Angel project is one that can be mass produced and sold for recreational purposes. Being able to erase certain people or objects from a photo you took would allow you to alter your pictures and enhance them, so that they are more fit to your liking. The technology could edit out a finger in front of the camera lens or a person that walked through the picture. The even more intriguing part is that this is all done through the use of artificial intelligence. The software has the capability to find and erase objects from pictures based on the user’s preference. As stated in the article, the AI is able to find the object or person for removal, but does not successfully remove the person or item without blemishing the original picture. Fortunately, with the system being AI, the process can only progress, as the system will learn how to adapt to people’s preferences.

    The Deep Angel software presents so many possibilities for its use. Photographers could use the software to enhance their pictures without having to put in hours of work using Photoshop. The software can remove whatever the photographer chooses. With the ability to adapt, the software may also be used to alter pictures in the future in different ways. Imagine the photographer mixing his work with the software not only to remove objects from the frame, but to change them into other objects or alter their form. This way the photographer has the ability to turn his or her work into a different kind of art; a mixture of human and AI. As interesting as this could be for artistic purposes, there can be lots of drawbacks of the software.

    Who else will think to use the Deep Angel software, and for what purposes? As good as the software can be for removing blemishes in a picture, being able to alter the entire picture takes away from the memories created by the picture. That could possibly have effects on the psyche and memory. That could be a factor people may regret in the future after using the program. Also, omitting people from pictures could create troubling situations legally. What if people use the software to tamper with police evidence for a case? How can this affect legal dealings? There are not many laws in place as far as lots of new technological advancements go. People may be able to argue for the software and not be reprimanded. Also, this could be used in legal dealings as far as recollection of a situation goes. Can people be persuaded to remember things differently based on the pictures presented to them? How can this effect other things besides the law? What effects could it have in politics and the propaganda presented to the public? With the AI learning what and how to alter pictures, anything can be changed and published as is. This could also be detrimental in global politics, should the idea of the software be developed that far.

  16. Rableen Sudan November 5, 2018 at 8:26 am #

    This article presented a little piece of where the world is headed when it comes to technology. Matt Groh is currently leading the MIT Media Lab project that is utilizing the AI systems to create a tool anyone can use with a few clicks of a button. This new piece of technology would allow photos to be edited the way you want them to be perceived. So imagine if you can crop a friend out that ruined the picture by closing his/her eyes or maybe your ex because now you two are no longer together. This will allow you to keep the photos you look great in and improve them significantly.

    Another element that brought this project the light of day is the impact this AI system has on social media. Even the author mentions the domination of photographs that has taken place through the help of millennials and generation Z. Much of this is through the need of approval and appearances that need to be constantly met through these platforms. Thus, body image, depression, anxiety, or any illnesses are not really shown on social media, but instead, images of joy and accomplishment will be showcased. Even though the reality of this is disappointing, the AI system can use it to make a profit. It can help edit pictures that will make the individual look like the star of the photo.

    On the other hand, as much as the AI system carries the ability of improvement, it also carries some dangerous side effects. It gives the ability to manipulate an image to show the world what the editor wants them to perceive. So imagine a politician manipulating a photo to his/her advantage, a dictator using this system to erase the crime that could be seen in a photo, or anyone at that matter can pinpoint a crime on another individual because it will give them the ability to do so. Yet, I understand that this technology was made for the average person to use and not for any crimes that can take place. Moreover, the AI system, Deep Angel, has not reached its full potential since it is in its early stages. However, it will continue to get better and even spark ideas of other products that might do the opposite of Deep Angel, such as recovery.

  17. Silky B. November 9, 2018 at 1:17 pm #

    I was a little skeptical reading the article because since the internet was first introduced we all knew that no matter how hard you try to delete something once it is posted it is there forever. This article talks about how there is a new technology being introduced that will erase someone or something completely from the picture as if they were never there. The technology is called Deep Angel and it is still not perfect since it’s in its early stages. As of right now, pictures that have used the AI system to delete someone or something from the image just look heavily distorted. But once it up and running to its full potential people will be able to say “delete Lauren”. This is a huge step up from photoshop.

    This will have a huge impact on social media and its usage. Could you imagine not having to delete pictures of ex-friends or lovers in your life? You would just erase them from the pic without having to delete it and re-upload. This also would take the act of cropping someone out of a picture and replace it with something that is not as noticeable as an obvious crop. It is also an editing software where people can make themselves look a lot better and make the picture look like they want it to look. This technology will change how Millenials post pictures and how they interact on these social media platforms.

    This can also be used negatively by politicians to promote their biased propaganda. This is why technology like this always makes me nervous because of how people can use it to promote hate. There is already a lot of bias and ignorance online so technology like this falling into hands that will use it in a negative way could potentially be very detrimental.

  18. Melissa Joas November 9, 2018 at 4:50 pm #

    RE: MIT’s new tool erases anything (or anyone) from old photos.

    It is getting hard to tell who somebody is and what events actually occurred thanks to the wonderful Internet. When I see a picture of somebody, I wonder if it is really what they look like. Oftentimes every last photograph looks like a different person, but they are all supposedly of one individual. How can that person have so many different looks? Is it simply his or her facial expression? Not likely. Sometimes the pictures are very old, but most of the time they have been modified. I have a few friends who I have not seen in a while, but I know that they do not look anything like the pictures that they post on their social media accounts. Some of them look about two decades younger than they do in person. Others have enhanced their features to look more stunning, altered the photos so that they look more svelte than they actually or, and some have even superimposed animal faces over their own. I no longer like to post pictures of myself because I fear that people are expecting it to be altered and that I must look much worse in person than I do in my pictures because I really do not Photoshop them.

    While the points that I brought up are merely superficial and completely subject to one’s personal opinions, there are some serious issues that modifying pictures creates. If someone does not look like his or her photograph, it could potentially become an issue identifying that person if he or she gets into trouble or disobeys the law. If someone is caught on surveillance camera, either as a victim of a crime or the perpetrator of one, law enforcement might look on social media for people who resemble the person in the video to no avail.

    The major issue that I have with altering images is that it makes it more difficult to tell the difference between reality and fiction. MIT Media Lab’s Deep Angel is a scary concept to me. At first, it sounds like it could be a fun tool to use. It is true that most people have a picture that they are absolutely glowing in but that has someone or something in the background that sends an image that is inconsistent with the one that they want to portray. For example, a person’s best picture might include an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. That person might be seeking out new relationships and having a picture with an ex does not help in this situation. Being able to remove the ex from the picture can be helpful in this case. However, you cannot simply erase someone from your life. It is not uncommon for a person to feel angry with a friend and delete him or her from social media in a fleeting moment of anger only to regret it later. This can be quickly corrected after apologizing and reissuing a friend request. If the person deleted his or her friend or family member from all of the pictures it would be a bit more difficult to fix and cause a great deal more regret. The question is whether the original pictures are backed up or not. While it might be prudent to do so before making such a brash decision, most choices made while emotionally charged are not rational. The second problem that I have with this technology is that being able to quickly remove people or things from pictures makes them completely unreliable. Just as it is no longer easy to trust that a person actually looks like his or her photo, it will soon be hard to believe what we see in a picture and question whether the moment really took place or not. There are issues with pictures being “fake” and news being “fake”. For as many of us as there are who are skeptical about what they see and what they read, there are just as many who believe anything and everything that their eyes fall upon. I used to say, “I’ll believe it when I see it”. Now there is a good chance that I will never believe anything.

    Fortunately, there is a lot of room for improvement of this technology before it becomes a popular tool. As Mark Wilson demonstrated in his article, Deep Angel for the most part will remove a person or object from all pictures, but not neatly. In some cases, the item that was removed is still identifiable. In most of the pictures a messy, pixelated blur replaced the item that was removed. For now, people will have to crop the bottles of beer and shot glasses out of their public pictures one by one before embarking on the search for a new job. Better yet, they can use caution in their everyday activities and avoid the situation altogether.

  19. Amy Rheel November 9, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    This is a hilarious topic as it is very current to today’s way of posting. The way society functions today it is all about how we post and who we are posting with that portrays an image of who we are or claim to be on our social media pages. It is funny that the way we are so consumed about how we post has been noticed by MIT that so much it has caused them to come out with this software. That this software will scan the image that of what is unwanted in the photo, then automatically the software will erase that image like it was never there to begin with. As much as I like this software and it can be really helpful with what we want our photos to look like, what does it say that MIT is working on projects like these? Meaning there are so many real problems and topics in the world today but instead it is an issue of figuring out how to remove our ex’s from our Instagram pictures. Moving forward how does it show who we are as a society, being so self-absorbed that it was noted that we want edited pictures to remove something that is unwanted. That one of the most prestige colleges found it being such an issue that they created a software to improve our images on social media. It is interesting to see the lengths we will go just to look interesting online.

  20. Jessica Forsthoffer November 9, 2018 at 10:54 pm #

    This concept of erasing people from photos comes with a lot of implications in our modern world. We are so present on social media platforms and a lot of our relationships are based online. We keep in touch with old friends by looking at what they are doing on their Instagram or Facebook, not by actually interacting with them. We are so present online and image means so much to people that we need to create tools to delete people from our photos. I don’t agree with this concept and I think that if people leave our lives but they’re still in a photo that it should remain that way, it’s a part of our history. As for the technology aspect of this tool, it is impressive that people have created AI which can identify people or objects in photos and then erase them. From the examples on the website related to the article, it works fairly well and you wouldn’t even have known that there was a person there to begin with. Technology and photo editing have improved significantly over time and can manipulate a photo to show exactly what you want to show the public. I feel as if there are some things that should be shown in their true form and remain unchanged. Photo AI is changing that for the better in some cases, but also it may be unnecessary for some situations.

  21. Robert Musantry November 25, 2018 at 10:09 pm #

    MIT’s new artificial intelligence tool, called “Deep Angel” has the power to erase history. Okay, maybe it is not that extreme but it is still a powerful tool whose concept can alter the way we view the world around us, whether in the past or present. Deep Angel is designed to be able to recognize certain objects in a picture and then erase them from existence. From the article, the list of objects the program can recognize and delete includes dogs, cats, pizzas, teddy bears, and people among other things. From this list, the most obvious use is to remove people from photos. This is a task that has become common in the social media age, with plenty of apps ready to help us crop out those who do not mean as much to us as they did when the picture was taken. This might seem like a sad reality, but it is ours. For those who are a little more invested, Photoshop makes it easy to get rid of a person completely with a little effort and time. Deep Angel makes this process super quick, if not a tad bit messy. The examples in the article show a before picture, explain what object the author was looking to eliminate, and then an after picture that looks like something was used to smudge the image and make it hard to tell what was originally in the photo. It definitely is not perfect, and in most cases you can still sort of tell what was there before, but the fact that the program can recognize these images and know to target them means that Deep Angel will only become more powerful in the future. What this means is that in an instance, any picture can be edited however the user wants. This can be used for simple Instagram pictures where we want to get rid of some people in an image, but it could potentially allow powerful people to revise history. The idea that history is written by the victors, however cliché that it is, would have a whole new meaning. Part of the reason that our modern history is so well known is because of the invention of the camera, and our ability to record in a way other than just words. Without any explanation, we can plainly see what happened in the past. But what if what we see is different from what actually occurred? That would make reality harder to determine and create a mess for all of society.

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