AI Searches Public Cameras to Find When Instagram Photos Were Taken
Dries Depoorter has created an artificial intelligence (AI) software that searches public camera feeds against Instagram posts to find the moment that a photo was taken.
The Belgian artist has posted a video of his remarkable project that he calls The Follower which he began by recording open cameras that are public and broadcast live on websites such as EarthCam.
After that, he scraped all Instagram photos tagged with the locations of the open cameras and then used AI software to cross-reference the Instagram photos with the recorded footage. He trained the software to scan through the footage and make matches with the Instagram photos he had scraped, and it worked amazingly well.
The resulting video gives a slightly creepy behind-the-scenes look at Instagram influencers in the wild as they pose for the perfect social media photo.
Depoorter, who is also a public speaker, focuses on Temple Bar in Dublin, New York’s Times Square, and the large sign at the entrance of Wrigley Field stadium in Chicago. The Belgian artist says that the software focused on Instagram influencers who have over 100,000 followers.
“The idea popped in my head when I watched an open camera and someone was taking pictures for like 30 minutes,” Depoorter tells Vice.
Most people have encountered an influencer in the wild striving for a photo of themselves to put up on social media, and Depoorter’s project shows how many poses an influencer is willing to try for that perfect frame.
Highlighting the Dangers of New Technology
Depoorter’s work handles themes of privacy, AI, surveillance, and social media.
“If you check out all my work you can see I show the dangers of new technology,” Depoorter tells Vice.
“I hope to reach a lot of people by making it really simple. I really don’t like difficult art. I like to keep it really simple. I think I’m part of a new generation of artists that work with technology.”
Depoorter’s previous project, The Flemish Scrollers, involved flagging every time a Belgian politician uses their phone while at a government meeting. That project used AI and face recognition as well, and once a politician had been caught using their phone it was posted to Twitter with the distracted politician tagged.
He also created an experimental camera that could only shoot images that it deemed award-winning.
More of Depooter’s work can found on his website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.