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World Association of International Studies

Post Who's In the Picture? Google Will Tell You
Created by John Eipper on 02/14/20 3:39 AM

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Who's In the Picture? Google Will Tell You (Paul Pitlick, USA, 02/14/20 3:39 am)

I got a kick out of the video of the reactions to the Putin picture by the Russians in the elevator (February 12th), but then I began wondering how I would like to have my photo all over the Internet after mocking said picture. Then I happened to turn to the book I'm reading about Artificial Intelligence which my daughter gave me recently, and the chapter was about facial recognition. Then there was Mendo Henriques's post yesterday morning about AI.

I used to think this was all in the future, and I would never see it, but that's naïve. I have the feeling that if the FSB wanted to track down any or all of those people in the video, it wouldn't be hard to do.

If you already know about how Google can help you find the source of pictures on the Internet, the rest of this will be boring. If you don't, it's really easy, interesting, will take literally seconds, and it's all mouse-clicks--no typing. I've looked up a lot of pictures this way. I took a picture from the video clip of one of the guys, which is enclosed. It's "Unknown.jpg" (can't be a pdf file). If you want to try it, save it somewhere in your computer, or pick another file of a picture of a famous place or an ad on the Internet, etc. Or take your own picture of someone in the video.

1. Start with opening a Google page on your browser.

2. In the upper right corner, it says "Images." Click on that.

3. Now, just to the right of the center is a little camera--click on that.

4. In the center of the page, it says "Upload an Image"--select it.

5. Then, a little lower and a little to the left it says "Choose File"--select that.

6. Your desktop will be shown.

7. Then find your picture, and hit "CHOOSE."

8. In a second or 2, you might find the exact picture, or it may be in with others that "look like it," and/or links to sites associated with this picture.

9. Of course, we know where the picture came from (the link in David Pike's post), but there was also an interesting article in the Daily Mail about the video. And the FSB probably has better tools than Google...

JE comments:  This is really fun...and creepy.  Paul Pitlick's test image is first, below.  Then, like any foolish scientist, I decided to experiment on myself, with two unpublished photos.  My first attempt was from the Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca, Bolivia.  The Google image search led me to other pre-Columbian ruins, as well as the Wikipedia article on Stone Wall, "a kind of masonry construction that has been used for thousands of years."  Attempt #2 featured a scruffy Yours Truly after 3 days in the Ecuadorian rain forest.  Again, no luck--the search yielded an article, "What Makes a Tree a Tree?"  The background seems to have drowned out my face on both occasions.  Finally, I ran an image of the late Randy Black and me at the Ft Worth Stockyards.  Google "nailed" it this time, but the image has previously been published.

In the elevator with Putin

Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca

Cuyabeno River, Ecuador

With Randy Black, Ft Worth Stockyards, 2013

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  • Who's in the Car? Google It (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA 02/16/20 6:09 PM)

    Gary Moore writes:

    Regarding Paul Pitlick's (Feb 14) useful look at Google's astonishing
    facial recognition abilities (though perhaps no more counter-intuitively
    miraculous than binary code itself), the other day I was chopping away
    at Google, seeking buried insights into Mexico's tragic "Mormon massacre"
    of November 4, 2019.  So I tried inputting the license plate number of one of the three
    vehicles that were ambushed: VXR-024-A. I didn't have much hope for this.
    Few published photos of the ambushed vehicles have bothered showing the
    license plates, and, in a rush of media pathos, amid countless complications
    in this iconic massacre, very few news articles have bothered mentioning
    the license plates either.

    Result: As soon as I input the plate number, giving Google only one additional generic
    helper word, "Sonora," up popped a photograph of that very car, with bulletholes--a photo that itself did not show the license plate, or have discernible association
    with any text mentioning the license plate.

    Just one more small reminder that the techno-human race may be on a wild ride.

    JE comments:  The takeaway:  you cannot hide, especially given the ubiquity of surveillance cameras.  If you "Google Earth" my house, you not only see my house and vehicles, you also see me--carrying some mysterious bin of junk.  (And thanks go to A. J. Cave for teaching me how to shorten maddeningly long URLs).


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