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Pareidolia

Pareidolia is the term for when we see faces in inanimate objects, like this happy little electrical outlet.

It’s a clear evolutionary advantage, it’s better to see a face where there isn’t one than to miss it when there is one.  Repeat for 12,000 generations and we see faces in clouds.

Facial recognition systems will also turn up false positives, like this key.

Interestingly sometimes we will see a face in an object, and an AI will see a different one. Somehow, we think it isn’t right, our imaginary face is the REAL imaginary face!

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I like the ambiguity in this song. It seems like an everyday lyric about dreaming of your lover’s face, but then when you look more closely there is a sinister overtone of facial recognition technology and being tracked wherever we go. How would we escape an AI that stalked us?

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First thing you hear in this song is a looped sound.  This is a pretty easy thing to do these days with digital technology.  Back in the old analogue days it was a laborious process of making tape loops. Roger Waters’ ‘Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking’ has a clock loop I made as its starting point.  It was an old wind up clock of Roger’s that was recorded and then run at half speed. By a process of trial and error, I got a metronome to run in sync with that.  A tape loop, maybe 18” long was made of that pair of elements, and large chunks of the album were played on top of that. Every time it was used, it wore out a little and there was a bit of holding our breath hoping it’d last long enough.

Images: 1/ Bill Ebbesen, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

2/  Greg Borenstein