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Google Maps Removes AI-Edited Photos Highlighting Climate Change in Austria

Google Maps Removes AI-Edited Climate Change Photos of Austrian Landmarks Uploaded by Activists
June 24, 2024

Google has removed dozens of altered images of Austrian landmarks from its Maps service after they were uploaded by environmental activists to illustrate the potential impact of climate change.

On June 22, Google deleted the AI-generated photos, which depicted the Danube River, Austrian lakes dried up, and snowless Alpine peaks, imagining the scenes as they might appear in 2070. The images were uploaded by the activist group Letzte Generation (Last Generation).

A Google spokesperson explained, "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."

Letzte Generation spokesperson Marina Hagen-Canaval responded, saying the group was "not very surprised" by Google's decision. "They are ignoring the climate catastrophe, just like authorities and big companies in general," she said.

The activist group aimed to use the altered images to warn tourists about the potential effects of rising temperatures due to climate change. They hoped to raise awareness among users planning their vacations through Google Maps.

Letzte Generation is known for its dramatic protest actions, including blocking highways, and has pledged to continue its activism, both in the physical world and online. This latest action highlights their commitment to drawing attention to climate change issues in innovative and provocative ways.

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