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The Human Touch: Why AI Photo Restoration Isn't as Good as You

Updated: Mar 11

The advancement of technology has brought about incredible innovations, one of which is AI-powered photo restoration. AI algorithms can now revive old, damaged, and faded photographs, turning them into remarkably restored images. However, while AI photo restoration has made significant strides, it still lacks the essential elements that make human intervention indispensable. This post argues that despite the impressive capabilities of AI in photo restoration, it fails to match the unique qualities possessed by humans, making the human touch irreplaceable in this creative and sentimental domain.

Emotional Connection:

One of the fundamental aspects of photo restoration is the emotional connection shared between the photograph and the person restoring it. As humans, we possess the ability to empathize and understand the significance of a photograph in a personal context. When restoring a cherished family portrait or a treasured memory, we are able to connect emotionally with the subject, interpreting the emotions and experiences captured within the image. AI lacks this emotional connection, rendering it unable to imbue the same sentimental value into the restored photo.

A macro photo of an Eye
Keeping our Eye on AI.

Contextual Understanding:

A critical factor in photo restoration is the ability to understand the context of the image and the story it conveys. Humans possess the inherent capability to comprehend the historical, cultural, and social context surrounding the photograph. This contextual understanding allows us to make informed decisions during the restoration process, preserving the essence of the original image and ensuring its historical accuracy. AI algorithms may be proficient at identifying patterns, but they lack the depth of understanding required to restore an image with precision.

Creativity and Artistry:

Photo restoration is not merely a technical process; it is also an art form that demands creativity and artistic vision. Humans possess the ability to make subjective decisions during the restoration process, using their artistic sense to add subtle touches, enhance colours, and bring life to the image. Unlike AI, which follows pre-set algorithms, humans can think outside the box and bring their unique perspective to the restoration, resulting in a more personalized and captivating final product.

Adaptability to Unique Cases:

Every photograph has its distinct challenges and peculiarities, requiring a customized approach to restoration. Human restorers can adapt and tailor their techniques to suit each unique case, addressing issues like complex damage, rare vintage prints, or specific artistic styles. AI, on the other hand, may struggle to cope with unconventional cases, leading to subpar results or even exacerbating existing flaws.

Ethical and Privacy Concerns:

AI photo restoration raises concerns regarding privacy and ethical use of the technology. AI algorithms require extensive data to be trained effectively, and in some cases, these datasets may contain private or sensitive information. Additionally, AI models may inadvertently reveal sensitive details during the restoration process, which could compromise the privacy and security of individuals or subjects within the photos. Human photo restorers, on the other hand, are governed by ethical guidelines and can ensure the respectful treatment of personal photographs.


In conclusion, AI photo restoration undoubtedly showcases remarkable advancements in technology, but it is not without its limitations. The human touch, driven by emotional connection, contextual understanding, creativity, adaptability, and ethical considerations, remains essential in photo restoration. AI can serve as a valuable tool, assisting human restorers in their work, but it cannot replace the uniqueness and expertise offered by human hands and hearts. In this creative and sentimental domain, the human touch will continue to be the most cherished aspect of photo restoration for years to come.

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