A cat with yellow eyes tilted its eyes toward the camera, staring out of a gray cover. ‘London Trip’, is the AI title for this ‘Memory’ photomontage ripped from the depths of my iPhone camera-roll. He chose a sad piano score pinched and violin played. The algorithm calculated that it should pull to the core strings.
Cut to a culture of a desk with a 2FA device resting on a laptop case. It is not even photogenic. On the stroke of a sofa in a living room. It is empty. The camera leans toward a radio on a sidetable. Should we be worried about the invisible occupant? The staging invites critical questions.
Cut to an open-air scene: A massive tree spreads over a wrought-iron park fence. Another day covered in the city. Next to him an eccentric orange shock. A piece of public art? A blown glass installation? There is no time to investigate or question. The AI is moving forward. There is more data clogging up their banks.
Cut to a conference speaker. White, masculine, leaning, gesturing against a sea wall stamped with a kind of insignia. The photo is of low quality, taken quickly by the public, details too blurry to choose from. However, the camera persists, panning the entire tedious view. A wider angle shows the conference signage for something called ‘Health X’. This long-distance printing event rings a faint bell. Another unlikely culture: My voice recorder next to a brick wall next to an iced coffee. I think he works from a coffee shop.
Let’s go. A shot through a window frame of a well-kept garden, a bird’s eye view popping out from low bushes. Another shot of the bush shows a staircase arranged along a brick wall. I think it looks like a church garden in Southwark but honestly I can’t say it. No matter. The AI has lost interest. He is now obsessed with a Google Play billboard: “All the tracks you have and millions more to discover – Try them now for free,” the text reads over a JCDecaux brand stamp.
There is no time to consider what something means because suddenly it is night. It must be; my bedside lamp is on. Or is it? Now we’re back on the living room sofa with daylight and a book called ‘Nikolski’ (which also deals, as it happens, with separation and connection and random artifacts – albeit their astute narration succeeds in serendipity).
Cut a handful of berries into a cup. Cut to an exotic-looking wall that I know grows in the neighborhood. The point is really on the rise now. A lilting female vowel comes out to accompany a solitary selfie.
It seems unthinkable to me. I have so many questions.
The AI isn’t quite finished. For the finale: A poorly framed culture of a garden fence and a potted plant patio, washing the floor behind the foliage. The music fades, the car is almost finished building its journey to London. The last blow comes into view: Someone’s hand grips a half-drunk fist.
Go home algorithmically, you are drunk.
Footnote: Apple he says in-device machine learning feeds iOS’s “smart photo experience” that “analyzes every photo in a user’s photo library using in-device machine learning [to] deliver a personalized experience for each user “- with advanced processing designed to include scene classification, composition analysis, identification of people and pets, quality analysis and identification of facial expressions