I’m sure the AI is good at recognizing giraffes and flamingos, but it is quite bad with some groups, like corals. A user recently posted 8 coral photos from Christmas Island… each one was misidentified by the AI. Most were wrong at the family level… some at the order level. This is not an isolated incident. It seems to me that the limit of this technology is for distinguishing a clam from a shrimp… not for separating Montipora from Echinopora. There are now hundreds of observations for many of these groups, so it seems unlikely that its struggling from a lack of usable data.
And then there is the issue of it regularly mistaking geographically isolated taxa. How many misidentified Atlantic Ocean corals will it take before it stops suggesting Pacific taxa, and vice versa. These mistakes might not be so readily passed on to users if this basic geographic data was simply included in the output of AI analysis.
And perhaps some users would be less inclined to mindlessly click on the AI offerings if a confidence score were listed for each suggestion. Of course, this only works if the AI doesn’t suffer from Dunning-Kruger. Likewise, it would be informative to provide data showing the historical accuracy rate of the AI suggestions for the given taxon. If, for instance, Genus A is only correctly identified 10% of the time, maybe users would think twice before accepting it.
An example of what I have in mind for a hypothetical coral observation…
Suggested ID #1: Cynarina (Confidence: 42% AI Accuracy: 27/210 Nearest Observation: 512 km)
Suggested ID #2: Homophyllia (Confidence: 40% AI Accuracy: 33/125 Nearest Observation: 268 km)
Suggested ID #3: Scolymia (Confidence: 39% AI Accuracy: 40/151 Nearest Observation: 15263 km)
Suggested ID #4: Scleractinia (Confidence: 95% AI Accuracy: 49386/51346 Nearest Observation: <1 km)
With this extra data, a user can see that both Cynarina and Homophyllia are located in this region and have a roughly equal chance of being correct, which might encourage further investigation on their part. The 3rd suggestion, Scolymia, while morphologically similar (hence the similar AI scores), occurs a world away and immediately stands out as an unlikely choice. And this also encourage the usage of a more conservative approach to identifying. ID #4 here is almost certainly correct, given that juicy 95% confidence score and a high accuracy rate. I’m sure some users would rather opt for the sure thing than a lower-confidence guess at genus or species level.