One-button photography – where does that leave us photographers?


Today I read the DPReview article about 5 new camera features introduced with Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones and found the first sentence in the final thoughts quite interesting. It reads as follows: The philosophy behind the Pixel camera – and for that matter the philosophy behind many smartphone cameras today – is one-button photography. Actually this isn’t a new insight, I knew that smartphone makers were pursuing this goal for some time now, but there is a difference between knowing something and being aware of the possible repercussions. And the article linked above, especially the said sentence, bring up an interesting question: what does the “final stage” of computational photography look like and where does that leave us photographers?

Pixel_3_XL_family.jpg

Even know an AI can choose the best among a bunch of photos, identify people and brighten them up, adjust white balance and many other things. Who knows what they will be able to do several years from now. At this point we could discuss the enormous potential for abuse, because photos will have less and less in common with reality, but that’s an entirely different topic. What I would like to know is whether photography as we know it today can exist, if human involvement and therefore skill have become unnecessary, because an AI is making all the relevant decisions? Will there be any professional photographers left? What do you think, would you still be doing photography like you are doing it now or would photography end up being nothing more than a mere memory aid?

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