Considering all the concern out there about privacy implications of facial recognition technology, it's nice to see the technology being put to more creative, less troublesome uses.
Design lab onformative has used its facial recognition algorithm to scan the Earth using Google Maps to uncover parts of the planet that appear to make human-like (or monster-like in some cases) faces. Here it is in action:
"One of human’s most characteristic features is our desire to detect patterns. We use this ability to penetrate into the detailed secrets of nature. However we also tend to use this ability to enrich our imagination. Hence we recognize meaningful shapes in clouds or detect a great bear upon astrological observations," explains onformative. "Objective investigations and subjective imagination collide to one inseparable process. The tendency to detect meaning in vague visual stimuli is a psychological phenomenon called Pareidolia, and captures the core interest of this project."
Here are a few more examples of faces the algorithm has spotted: