Apple Locks Down “Synthetic Group Selfies” with Patent Filing


Synthetic photographs and “deep fake” videos are probably going to be a major thing we talk about in the future, and for various reasons.

unrecognizable man taking selfie with son on mountainside
Photo by Retha Ferguson from Pexels.

Wherever you stand on the technology, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, Apple is somewhat embracing it with a patent for “synthetic group selfies.” As we can assume, it is an AI-generated group image comprised of different images.

How’s that for social distancing?

But just in case you’re thinking that this innovation was inspired by the novel coronavirus pandemic, it actually has roots going way further back than that. The patent was filed in 2018 so either Apple is really ahead of the curve or this is one among many features that the tech company could introduce.

According to the patent, the feature is pretty simple in action. One person invites others to submit images for the group selfie. It has some elements of collaboration in that those you invite can reject the invitation. Those invited get to pick an image of their choosing with the primary coordinator simply orchestrating the action.

It sounds like it would be a neat feature but there’s no indication that this is something that Apple is actually looking to introduce in the near future. Patent filings tell us what kinds of ideas a company is exploring, however, and that’s why we pay so much attention to them.

And, honestly, a synthetic group selfie doesn’t sound that strange when you consider just how weird things are becoming with tech and photography. It almost sounds like the next logical step.

What do you think of the concept of a “synthetic group selfie”? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section below if you like.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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