We Are All Photobombing Someone

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 30 2011 @ 9:20am


by Zoë Pollock

Sally Adee glimpses the future:

Random strangers in our pictures are a prosaic fact of life on par with breathing and gravity. The question of how many tourist pictures we’re in is an exercise in stoner philosophy on par with whether we’re all really perceiving exactly the same color when we say “red”. Interesting enough, but fundamentally unknowable. But those days are numbered.

Face recognition software is getting better fast, and within a few years you should have an answer to the Where’s Waldo conundrum of where you appear in the background of the world’s tourist pictures. What kind of breadcrumb trail would those images reveal? If you could aggregate all the photos of you in the world, it might be possible to build up a surprisingly telling narrative of your life. That would be a dream for archaeologists and historians, and a nightmare for privacy advocates.

(Photo of a photobombing fish)