Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Facial recognition is challenged

Facial recognition is one of the innovative modern techniques to bridge the machine interface to the present world. We can easily find a friend's face from astronomical numbers of pictures on the internet. As well, a facial recognition program can detect a suspect's figure in a crowded crossroad. Its ability of tracking is often superior to a group composed of several professional guards.

However, this system is often too genius to be used for our convenience in daily life. Nowadays, national agencies administering public safety such as CIA can identify not only your personal information but also your current position and recent activities. Outlaws gets your personal information through gathering the data on the social network. Their conducts are often supported by facial recognition systems.

Therefore, some people are afraid they can be unintentionally tracked by a nameless algorithm. According to them, facial recognition is rather harmful than beneficial for human society.

Recently, Adam Harvey, an association of artists and technologists in Berlin, made an attempt to distract facial recognition systems, using printing patterns which mimic a face attached to clothing or bodies. These stimuli can confuse the algorithm to detect human faces. The association warns facial recognition systems have evolved to be able to identify not only the personality of each target but also their criminal tendencies.

The Guardian: Anti-surveillance clothing aims to hide wearers from facial recognition

I am not sure how the claims of Harvey is really threatening. More or less, facial recognition systems are potentially invasive against our privacy. We may be prepared to the current situation in which our daily activities are spied by anyone with ease.

However, the treatment of Harvey seems not effective in a longitudinal point of view. The algorithm of facial recognition is evolving day by day. Our figures, postures, and gaits are characteristic with each other. The next generation program will be able to identify us without shooting our face, I guess.

More fundamentally thinking, what is the goal of facial recognition? Where does this technology proceed? Is it complete tracing of our lives? Is it to make all our personal information searchable, as Google is pursuing? Or, is it to create a perfect copy of functions of human? It is a wonderful, but a bit fearful question.

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