Opinion: Google Pixel 8 AI Magic Editor – what constitutes a photograph in 2023?

A photo of the Pixel 8 Pro
(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

I’m on the mailing list for new Google launches, and when the official Pixel 8 series email came through, I saw the Magic Editor tool demoed in gif form, and my heart sank. In approximately seven seconds, what started as a photo became something altogether other. After removing a background object, moving a subject across a beach scene (generative AI filling in the blanks), totally switching out the sky a couple of times, and then adding a golden hour filter to the whole thing, a bland daytime shot became a stylized lie.

(Image credit: Google)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Basil Kronfli

Basil Kronfli is a freelance technology journalist, consultant, and content creator. He trained in graphic design and started his career at Canon Europe before moving into journalism. Basil is also experienced in video production, independently running the YouTube channel TechEdit, and during his time at Future, he worked alongside the Digital Camera World team as a senior video producer.