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AI-Altered Images of Austrian Landmarks Taken Down by Google Maps

ByHuey Yee Ong

Jun 25, 2024

AI-Altered Images of Austrian Landmarks Taken Down by Google Maps

Google removed altered images of Austrian landmarks from its Maps platform, which were uploaded by activists to illustrate the potential future impacts of climate change.

The images, designed with artificial intelligence, presented a stark vision of the future. They showed the Danube River and various Austrian lakes appearing desiccated and the typically snow-capped Alpine mountains barren as if viewed in the year 2070. These alterations were part of a campaign by Letzte Generation (Last Generation), aimed at raising awareness about the possible consequences of climate change.

Google acted quickly to delete these images, adhering to its strict content policies. “Our policies clearly prohibit content that is not based on real experience or does not accurately represent a location. We are removing the policy-violating photos in question,” a Google spokesperson stated to AFP.

Letzte Generation anticipated Google’s removal of the images and expressed their views on the action. “They are ignoring the climate catastrophe, just like authorities and big companies in general,” commented Marina Hagen-Canaval, a spokesperson for the group. The activists had intended the altered photos to serve as a warning to tourists about the risks posed by rising temperatures.

This is not the first time Letzte Generation has resorted to dramatic methods to draw attention to climate issues. The group has a history of staging protests, including blocking highways, and has committed to continuing its efforts, both in physical demonstrations and online.

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Featured Image courtesy of Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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