Monday, July 27, 2009

TAT is really freaking people out - why?

Some time ago, I ran across something shared by David Smith - namely, a ReadWriteWeb article by Sarah Perez that talked about facial recognition. (Disclosure: I work in the biometrics field, but have no link to this particular technology.)

As mobile phones continue to develop, the improvements to geolocation features, video capabilities, and processor speed combined with APIs from various web services are helping to make augmented reality the next big thing in mobile applications....But one of the items on our Augmented Reality wishlist - AU facial recognition - isn't something we've seen come about just yet. It almost seems too futuristic to be real. And it is. Swedish software and design company The Astonishing Tribe is developing an AU concept called Augmented ID that "sees" people and tells you who they are.

The best way to understand the concept is to watch the video:

(You wonder how the woman would have reacted if she captured the facial image BEFORE the man turned off his personal profile...)

But Perez isn't the only one who saw the video. And some folks were really freaking out about it. Take Adam Frucci of Gizmodo:

Of course, whether or not it'll be a good thing that strangers will be able to point their phones in our faces and get a rundown of our online lives is debatable.

Julia Sagar used the word "creepy" in the title to her post about the technology:

Dubbed both "mindblowing" and a "terrifying vision of the future", the possibilities of the Augmented ID app have so far left critics conflicted. The potential is exciting – but do you really want your latest drunken tweet to inform someone's first impression?

But do you really need this technology to find someone's latest drunken tweet? Frucci points out:

There's probably a lot to be said for learning about someone via conversation, but it's not like people don't go home from bars and Google and Facebook search the people they met that night. This just takes it to the logical extreme.

As I've said before, a tool is not a way of life. In fact, at this stage of the game a business card is more "terrifying" than a facial recognition algorithm. Yes, a business card. Look at all of the tips that you have to consider when you design your business card:

Many people now include their photos, this is especially touchy feely....There may be security reasons why you might not want your photo on your card....

If you do a lot of international travel especially countries that have security risk it might be worth downplaying your title. Do NOT have a card that shows that you are someone of great importance.

Are you freaked out about someone using facial recognition software to find out what your last post to Flickr was? If so, when was the last time that you dropped your business card in a local restaurant for a lunch drawing? And what happened to that business card after you left the restaurant?
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