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Google AI helps NYT get a handle on 5 million photo archive

The New York Times is digitizing photos from its archive, including these of the first traffic on the Bay Bridget connecting San Francisco and Oakland, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in 1984, and Regina Gleason with her surfboard in 1948.

The New York Times is digitizing photographs from its archive. Some examples: the primary site visitors on the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in 1984, and Regina Gleason together with her surfboard in 1948.

Left to proper: The New York Times; Marilyn Okay. Yee/The New York Times; Edward Sievers

Google’s pc brains are serving to The New York Times flip a historic archive of greater than 5 million photographs into digital knowledge that’ll seem within the newspaper’s options about historical past.

The newspaper’s “morgue” has 5 million to 7 million photographs relationship again to the 1870s, together with prints and make contact with sheets exhibiting all of the pictures on photographers’ rolls of movie. The Times is utilizing Google’s know-how to transform it into one thing extra helpful than its present analog state occupying banks of submitting cupboards.

Specifically, it is utilizing Google AI instruments to acknowledge printed or handwritten textual content describing the photographs and Google’s storage and knowledge evaluation companies, the newspaper stated. It plans to analyze whether or not object recognition is worth it, too.

A photo from The New York Times’ morgue can have a wealth of data on the again.

The New York Times

Artificial intelligence — particularly the strategy utilizing neural networks modeled loosely on human brains — is profoundly altering pictures. In addition to helping smartphone cameras take better shots within the first place, AI’s picture recognition can type photographs by who’s in them and may acknowledge landmarks and different subject material. That’s nice if you happen to weren’t as diligent about labeling or submitting them as newspaper photographers.

In the Times’ case, AI makes for a higher transition from analog to digital.

“We’ve always known that we were sitting on a trove of historical photos,” Monica Drake, the Times’ assistant managing editor, stated in a assertion. “Cloud technology allows us to not only preserve this archival source, but easily search and pull photos to provide even more historical context.”

The New York Times will use the photographs in a function known as Past Tense that can highlight historical past. The photographs will not be included in a public discussion board just like the Flickr Commons, although, the newspaper stated.

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