From our Swindon correspondent:
Milton Friedman might have had something to say about this
We set out to better understand the effect filtered selfies might have on people’s wellbeing—especially when filters are on by default. We conducted multiple studies and spoke with child and mental health experts from around the world, and found that when you’re not aware that a camera or photo app has applied a filter, the photos can negatively impact mental wellbeing. These default filters can quietly set a beauty standard that some people compare themselves against.
This is just folly. This is the game women have been playing against each other since recorded history. We have evidence of women wearing makeup and having anti-wrinkle creams in ancient Egypt, China, the Middle East. Roman women had make up. Lightening skin to look more aristocratic until it became a luxury to fly off to Europe, when sunbeds and fake tans came in.
Women click the “beauty” button and some AI does various things to the photo and out go the wrinkles, maybe some blotches disappear. And if you don’t do it, some other woman will and maybe she’ll get the guy clicking on her for a date instead of you.
So the effect of this is that Google is making their experience worse for their users, mostly to please some “mental health experts” (actually, pseudoscientists with studies that generally can’t be replicated).
Which brings us back to Uncle Milty. Because what he said is that the sole purpose of a business is to be the agent of the shareholders. Not social responsibility, not political parties and pressure groups, but shareholders. Sadly, Google seems to be losing this. They started as an organisation based on a search algorithm that tried to gather what people ranked highly. They didn’t ask experts, they let the algorithm decide what people liked.
“Go Woke, go broke” is because 90+% of people aren’t woke, and if you’re pleasing the woke, you’re displeasing everyone else.