AI Can Help Pick Your Best Photos

Say, "Cheese!"

Key Takeaways

  • Canon’s Photo Culling app uses AI to pick the best photos out of duplicates in your image library. 
  • The app’s AI algorithm is mostly correct in choosing which photos to keep and which ones to delete. 
  • Experts say there are still some implications of AI in your photos, such as privacy issues and AI tech's imperfections.
Someone taking a photo of a friend in a coffee shop.
Bloom Productions / Getty Images

A new app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to pick out the best photos on your phone is a cool and time-saving feature for the selfie day and age. However, experts say there are still some concerns about AI accessing your personal photos. 

Canon's new iOS app called Photo Culling shows you which of your photos are the best, based on its AI algorithm. The app is the perfect solution for cleaning up the duplicates of photos on your phone, and experts say this kind of application is exactly how AI can help us with tedious tasks.

"The announcement of the new AI app, Photo Culling by Canon, is another step into the future and gives a teaser of what the future of AI is capable of," wrote Atta Ur Rehman, content manager at Gun Made, to Lifewire in an email. 

AI Judging Your Photos

If you take many photos of the same thing, say, for example, your cat doing cute things, this handy app picks out what it determines to be the best of that series. According to Canon, the algorithm bases the selection on sharpness, noise, emotion, and closed eyes.

The app also lets you see how much photo storage you have left on your phone; gives you individual scores of your photos, with the capability of choosing which factors are most important to you; lets you search for photos by date; and more. It does its job of cleansing out the not-so-good iPhone photos and keeping the most Instagram-able ones.

As far as privacy concerns for the Canon app, if the processing and data remain on your device, it should not hold you back from the benefits of this application.

"Having an app that takes out duplicates—similar culling—and scans for photos that have a person who’s blinking with face recognition technology makes it a real time saver for casual phone photos," professional photographer, Orlando Sydney, wrote to Lifewire in an email.

Missing Memories

As with any app on our smartphones, there will be some implications to it, especially when it comes to AI, since it’s still such an ever-evolving technology. Experts say AI is not perfect and is still prone to mistakes, so take its suggestions with a grain of salt

"Even when [AI] detects images and scrutinizes them, we still have instances where it can't differentiate between the images of dessert and nude photos," wrote Caroline Lee, the co-founder of CocoSign, to Lifewire in an email. 

Even when the app culled my photos and chose the "perfect" photo, it wasn’t my "good" side, which, of course, only I would know, not an AI algorithm. 

Another implication of AI in our photos is that the act of actually cleaning up your image library and finding a few gems you didn't know about is all but lost. 

Screenshots from the Canon Photo Culling app.

"Most people, especially those who love photographs, want to browse and choose on their own so they can have a fond memory of the moment captured, and the app just destroys it," wrote Sonya Schwartz, founder at Her Norm, to Lifewire in an email.

"When you let the app choose for you, it will not be personalized anymore, and you might just miss the most beautiful shot there is."

Security Implications

Of course, there also are concerns about the security implications of having AI creep your photos.

"The security implications of letting large tech giants like Canon have access to your personal photos is important to grasp and should not be overlooked," wrote Laura Fuentes, operator at Infinity Dish, to Lifewire in an email. 

But experts say, in the grand scheme of things, if you have apps like Facebook or Instagram, you're already letting companies control your photos by storing your data and potentially selling it. 

The app’s privacy policy says the app does not "obtain, collect, or use such images or any information included in such images through this app," which is somewhat reassuring, compared to other apps.

"Most major social media platforms have far more invasive AI technologies," Sydney said. "As far as privacy concerns for the Canon app, if the processing and data remain on your device, it should not hold you back from the benefits of this application."

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