Daniel Patt, a software engineer, now working for Google, developed an AI ‘From Number to Names (N2N)’ to help people find the photos of the victims and survivors of WWII. N2N helps to identify the people in Holocaust photos by scanning and linking them to people living today.
N2N is an AI facial recognition platform that scans through prewar Europe and Holocaust images. It only displays the top 10 probable matches it can locate in the database. The non-profit endeavor has already experienced tremendous success, despite not being perfect.
Patt is working for N2N to access 700,000 more images from pre and Holocaust eras in addition to the images and movies already made available on the platform.
The 40-year-old engineer found the inspiration for creating such an AI in 2016 while visiting Warsaw’s POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Realizing the possibility of walking past the photos of several loved ones and not reconciling them as relatives, Patt wanted to help his family and others to find their murdered loved ones’ photos.
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Patt has a personal stake in the venture. Three of Patt’s grandparents are Holocaust survivors from Poland, and he wants to assist his grandmother in locating photographs of the members of her family who the Nazis killed.
Patt revealed the AI and its purpose on June 26, Holocaust Survivor Day, to celebrate the Holocaust survivors. He said, “I started this project after visiting the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland, in 2016. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had potentially walked past a photo of a family member without even knowing it.” He added, “Looking ahead, we’d like for N2N to become a vehicle for Holocaust education, giving students an opportunity to directly contribute to the historical record.”