Do the Pixel 8’s Magic Editor and Best Take make you uncomfortable?

My issue with Magic Editor is not that it shouldn’t exist, but how there should be explicit warnings on the final output that this is not the original image. That would be of service to the public, more so than the person altering the photo. I think the editor is more than allowed to change the photo to their liking in their library. However, once it’s distributed, I think the editing tool has the responsibility of conveying the presence of changes. 

Human memory is not perfect, and photos are one of the few ways we have to preserve and cement moments. We shouldn’t be so quick to embrace things that try to needlessly alter that.

I don’t necessarily agree. These new editing tools in smartphones are nothing a semi-decent Photoshop user can’t do in an afternoon, and editing photos is as old as photography itself. All these tools do is further democratise photo editing, and this was always going to happen, smartphones or not.

Adding watermarks or other markers is never going to work, since even if it’s entirely unfalsifiable – a big if – the vast majority of people encountering edited photos would not go and look at the metadata or whatever to check of the photo is real or not. If people still fall for obvious bullshit like antivax talking points or flat earth hoaxes, a bunch of technobabble metadata isn’t going to stop them.