Facebook Can Recognize Photos Of You Even Without Your Face, Which Is Just As Creepy As It Sounds
If you already spend way too much time on Sunday morning untagging yourself from last night's photos, I have some bad news. Thanks to a new algorithm, Facebook can recognize photos of you even without your face, and if you're not creeped out by that, you're probably the poor NSA agent forced to keep tabs on me after that stoner lox article. Or the time I was super thirsty about the hot NYC cop. Or when I demanded that California save the homeless kittens. You get the idea.
For everyone that isn't an NSA agent, here's a little background. According to Jezebel, Facebook has developed a procedure that recognizes people without the use of puny facial recognition software. "People have characteristic aspects, even if you look at them from the back," Yann LeCun, head of artificial intelligence at Facebook, told New Scientist. The research team used 40,000 public photos from Flickr to create the algorithm, which ended up being able to identify people with a solid 83 percent accuracy rate. Considering the algorithm is still in experimental stages — it was presented at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference just this month — it's reasonable to assume its accuracy will only improve with time.
LeCun imagines it being used to alert especially private people if they appear in the background of photos they don't want online, but others have reasonably pointed out that the opposite could also be true. "If, even when you hide your face, you can be successfully linked to your identify, that will certainly concern people," Carnegie Mellon University professor Ralph Gross said to New Scientist.
Facebook has had its fair share of privacy panics, some of which were more warranted than others. The website is hardly going to start tagging you in photos without your permission (hopefully), but there's no denying that its technology can sometimes get into seriously Big Brother-esque territory. On the flip side, by the time the impending robot uprising happens, we'll probably have all moved on to some other form of social media, so this is all a moot point anyway. Right?
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