Using Artificial Intelligence to Put Names to the Faces of Holocaust-Era Photographs

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the POLIN museum in Warsaw, and many other institutions have extensive collections of photographs taken of ordinary Jews before and during World War II. Yet identifying the people in them is usually only made possible by serendipity. Daniel Patt has devised a way to use computer technology to solve the problem, as Yaakov Schwartz writes:

Patt, a forty-year-old software engineer . . . set to work creating and developing From Numbers to Names (N2N), an artificial intelligence-driven facial-recognition platform that can scan through photos from prewar Europe and the Holocaust, linking them to people living today.

Currently, N2N’s software—which is free and simple to use—only returns the ten best potential matches that it can find in the database available to it. Though not yet perfect, the nonprofit project has already seen great success: the software has been used to search through hundreds of thousands of photos to identify faces for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) as well as individual survivors and descendants of survivors—including a number of celebrities.

Patt, who only works on the project on his own time and with his own resources, has now been joined by a growing team of engineers, data scientists, and researchers, who are constantly expanding the reach and accuracy of the software. In addition to the photos and videos currently available to the platform, Patt is working for N2N to gain access to 700,000 more photos from the pre-Holocaust and Holocaust eras.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Holocaust, Jewish museums, Photography, Technology

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy