Of the thousands of memories I have stored on my devices—and in the cloud now—most are cloudless reminders of happier times. But some are painful, and when algorithms surface these images, my sense of time and place becomes warped. It’s been especially pronounced this year, for obvious and overlapping reasons. In order to move forward in a pandemic, most of us were supposed to go almost nowhere. Time became shapeless. And that turned us into sitting ducks for technology.
Some technology companies, including Apple, have tried to make these photo-surfacing technologies sensitive to these kinds of issues, but it’s a hard problem to identify how we feel about a picture, and one that definitely merits further improvement.