I really enjoyed this post by Nick Heer about the complex topic of whether photographs represent reality or not, whether Google is pushing things further than it should, or if this is all just the latest chapter in a story that started long before Photoshop:
The criticisms I have been seeing about the features of the Pixel 8… feel like we are only repeating the kinds of fears of nearly two hundred years. We have not been able to wholly trust photographs pretty much since they were invented. The only things which have changed in that time are the ease with which the manipulations can happen, and their availability. That has risen in tandem with a planet full of people carrying a camera everywhere. If you believe the estimates, we take more photos every two minutes than existed for the first hundred-and-fifty years after photography’s invention. In one sense, we are now fully immersed in an environment where we cannot be certain of the authenticity of anything.
Then again, Bigfoot and Loch Ness monster sightings are on a real decline.
I am uneasy in how easy Google is making synthesized photography. But those who suggest that photography has been, up to this point, a trustworthy depiction of reality also need to think a bit deeper.
—Linked by Jason Snell