October 25, 2019 ☼ facial recognitionai

Coming out of a series of workshops with a client where it was assumed that facial recognition technologies would be part not only of possible futures but even preferable ones, it’s interesting to see s signal that highlights how quickly things can change.

But in almost all of these cases, facial recognition is still in its early stages. It’s an experiment. And we’re the test subjects. If we accept ubiquitous biometric monitoring and normalize the idea of getting our faces scanned to get on a plane or pick up our kids from school, the experiment works and our fate is sealed. But if we organize — if we refuse to be lab rats in a digital panopticon — we can avert a future where all human movements and associations are tracked by artificial intelligence algorithms trained to look for and punish deviations from authoritarian norms.

Eva Greer and Tom Morello lead a coalition of people that managed to get the commitment of 40 of the largest music festivals in the US to not use facial recognition software of any kind.

Having gotten that far, they now want to see where they can take this momentum.

Certainly the largest normalizer of facial recognition began with the rollout of Face ID by Apple. Our faces became passwords and they are so much easier to remember. As long as it is useful, we are more than willing to forgo our ability to understand the systems that we are using.