Artificial Intelligence… The Next Big Thing in the Photo Booth Industry
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Artificial Intelligence is taking the world by storm. It’s revolutionizing everything and the photo booth industry is not immune.
I had the pleasure of attending the Photo Booth Expo in London in September 2023. One of the keynote speakers, Nicholas Rhodes of OutSnapped did an entire presentation on Artificial Intelligence and its applications in our industry.
In this blog post, I’ll briefly go over my top five takeaways from his presentation and provide my general thoughts on AI in the photo booth industry. At the bottom of this page, you can also access a six minute video that I curated with my favorite excerpts from his presentation.
Computer is the Artist
When something entirely new comes along, it can be challenging to explain and sell it to clients. Nicholas made a brilliant analogy by likening the computer to an artist. Just as a painter needs various tools to create their masterpiece, AI requires resources to craft its unique artwork.
AI has access to the vast expanse of the internet and all that it holds. Additionally, it uses the photo you provide and the “instructions” given by a human. With these ingredients, AI generates its artistic expression, making every output distinct and surprising.
This element of surprise is a built-in incentive for guests to take more photos. By offering a creative and unique outcome each time, the guest experience is enhanced and the issue of underutilized booths at events is minimized (which is a win win for both clients and boothers).
While the concept of a computer as an artist is truly exciting and full of possibilities, it also introduces some challenges and limitations.
The Likeness Challenge
One major challenge highlighted by Nicholas is the expectation that AI-generated images should precisely replicate the subjects. However, AI doesn’t produce photographs; it creates artistic interpretations based on the input it receives. While it can flawlessly recreate a celebrity like Brad Pitt, replicating the likeness of an ordinary event attendee is more complex.
This is because if you show AI a photo of Brad Pitt… it will instantly know who he is and also what exact movie scene that photo was taken from. Because AI has access to everything online. It’s output of Brad Pitt will look just like him. No likeness issue.
But if you feed it one image of a guest at an event (who is not a celebrity), it will struggle to create an output that looks exactly like them. Simply because it doesn’t have as extensive a catalog to work from.
This is why AI-generated outputs in the style of Disney/Pixar characters have been so well-received. They don’t require an exact likeness to captivate and engage guests.
AI’s Inherent Bias
Another critical challenge to consider is the inherent bias within AI. AI operates solely based on the data it has, devoid of emotions or considerations.
As Nicholas pointed out, one of his clients discovered that AI tended to produce images of “rich people” predominantly as white men. To address this bias, they aimed to retrain AI to generate images of rich women and rich minorities.
Surveys: A Clever Solution
To mitigate AI’s inherent bias, Nicholas came up with a clever solution: incorporating surveys into the workflow. By asking guests about their gender identity, this information can be passed on to the AI image processor, ensuring that the output aligns with the guests’ expectations.
The power of surveys extends beyond bias mitigation. They provide additional variables that enhance the AI’s ability to create unique, customized outputs. For instance, in a partnership with Coca-Cola, guests were asked for their birth year, and AI recreated a Coca-Cola ad from that year with the guest featured in it.
I personally think the survey ability combined with AI is very powerful. Imagine the custom experiences you can provide clients!
AI’s Ongoing Evolution
One of the most exciting takeaways from Nicholas’s presentation is the knowledge that AI in the photo booth industry is just in its early stages. As Nicholas put it, “this is the worst it will ever be, and it will only improve from here.”
As AI technology evolves, many of the issues early adopters face, such as likeness and bias, are likely to diminish.
In my experience, things are often overhyped and don’t live up to expectations. But AI feels very different to me.
In the world of photo booths, we’re often tasked with creating unforgettable outputs that people treasure and share. AI opens up unparalleled opportunities for creativity, fun, and entirely unique results. It doesn’t replace the traditional photo/video/GIF model but complements and enriches it, offering a brand-new experience.
A standard photo is one thing, but having a renowned artist create a painting based on you in a certain style or theme is an entirely different and captivating experience.
If you’re curious about this topic and want to delve deeper, I’ve prepared a 6-minute excerpt of my top takeaways from the PBX London presentation. Just drop your email into the box below so I know where to send the video!
P.S. – If you’re interested in offering Al photos to your clients, be sure to check out Pictor!