Something our human eyes seem to do, without any prompting, is to pick out shapes and structures that resemble other shapes and structures. Called pareidolia, it's a form of pattern recognition -- and a good example is the way we often see a human face where only a random collection of shapes or shadows exists. This, it is now known, is the reason for the infamous face on Mars.
Our own Earth, as folded and rippled as it is, is also prone to this phenomenon when viewed from above: the Badlands Guardian, discovered on Google Earth in 2006, for example. But we're sure there are many more human-esque faces lurking in strange corners of the Earth.
That is the premise behind Google Faces, a project by Berlin design studio Onformative: can pareidolia be imitated by a machine? Using OpenFrameworks, the studio has created an application that crawls Google Maps, using facial recognition algorithms to seek out areas that look like faces. … Read more