Computer Vision as "we"

What do you think of the fact that Computer Vision recommendations are expressed in terms of “we” and “our”? I’m referring to “we’re pretty sure…” and “here are our top suggestions.”

I get that it makes the recommendation feel “friendlier,” but I think that it can cause non-computer-savvy folks to think the recommendation is coming from human beings (experts or the iNaturalist community) without the intervention of an algorithm.


Agreed that it’s a bit weird using such human pronouns.

I wonder if the iNat staff have ever considered (or have already) given the computer vision a name. It functions a lot like a virtual assistant, so perhaps it could be named in the same way other virtual assistants are given a human and comprehensible identifier, e.g. Alexa, Jarvis, Jeeves, or Siri.

Perhaps a message like

We’re pretty sure it’s in this subfamily […]

Would be better received as:

Flora* is pretty sure it’s in this subfamily […]

A name is a lot simpler for people to discuss and understand as a kind of entity. “Siri” is so much simpler than “Apple virtual assistant”; almost any name would be better than “the iNaturalist computer vision”.

* Just an example name for the iNaturalist Computer Vision “assistant”. Could be fun to hold a contest or poll to decide on a name.


Personally, I don’t mind it at all. There is a long history of institutions referring to themselves as “we” (eg. governments, monarchies, corporations, NGOs, etc) and the Computer Vision ID suggestion is technically coming from the iNat institution.

Maybe adding a bit of text above the automated ID saying something like, “Computer Vision ID Suggestions” would alleviate your concern?


Why not just “iNat”? People use it like that already. People I know who only use the app or Seek, and don’t realize there’s a whole community of people on the website, will say things like “iNaturalist said it was this species” or “Seek said it was that species”.


It was brought up before, for me having new users read tutorials would solve that problem from the root.


Or a human-sounding name based on that, like “Naty.” I’ve met human beings called Naty.

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I agree it would be better to have a name than a “we”.
I propose Skynat :grin:

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iNat is pretty sure, because we have enough pictures of That species but, it is not Seen Nearby, so maybe on balance, not sure at all.


I appreciate the replies.

What I mean to suggest is just that the algorithm’s recommendations themselves shouldn’t refer to the algorithm by any kind of nickname, even “the CV,” or the pronouns “we” and “our.” For the sake of discussion, my suggestion is that the recommendations should refer to the algorithm as “Computer Vision,” as in “Computer Vision is pretty sure…” and “Computer Vision’s top suggestions are…”

Users, on the other hand, have the power to use whatever nicknames they want (“the CV steered me wrong there” or “the AI is pretty good on fungi”) and to coin new, fun nicknames.

I don’t think it adds utility or convenience for the recommendations themselves to refer to the algorithm by a nickname, and I think the result would be that something built into the system would potentially be misleading to non-computer-savvy people.


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