Since the inception of Google Earth, people have been reporting incidents of seeing human faces in various natural environments. Perhaps we’re just narcissistic and see ourselves in everything, but generative design studio Onformative thinks otherwise. They have created a robotic search agent dubbed the Facetracker that browses through images captured using Google Earth and runs the landscapes against a detection algorithm.
The Facetracker has traversed the entire surface area of the globe already and will repeat this process again and again, zooming in a little closer each time. The Facetracker is part of this studio’s GoogleFace project, an attempt to discover all the human faces discernible in our environment and speculate about how such anthropomorphic topography might be received.
“The tendency to detect meaning in vague visual stimuli is a psychological phenomenon called Pareidolia, and captures the core interest of the project,” explains the Onformative website. “We were driven by the idea, to explore how the psychological phenomenon of Pareidolia could be generated by a machine. We wrote an algorithm simulating this tendency, as it continuously searches for face-like shapes while iterating above the landscapes of the earth.”