Big Brother’s watching your face
Facial recognition: blessing or curse?
When it comes to new technologies, such as facial recognition, some of us just enjoy the fact that finally something new happens on Apple’s Keynote (by the way, aren’t the new emojis super cute?); and others – mostly those with tin foil hats on – see the dark Orwellian Dystopia and the success of the dark empire to hit humankind in these new developments. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in between.
The attribution of the innovative technology development can challenge people’s thinking in black and white models, because many visionary innovations can be used for something good, as well as for something evil. For example, a surveillance camera can help to prevent crime, but it also opens the door to the invasion of privacy and constant observation. In the right hands, maybe constant observation wouldn’t be that bad, would it? We have nothing to hide! However, everyone who ever opened a book of Kafka will say that the executives of a state do not always have the purest reasonings and/or intentions.
Most of the time until now, at least within western civilisation, these facial recognition technologies are used for mainly marketing reasons. Social media platforms no longer require you to „like“ a post or picture, it just reads your face. Frown means „I don’t like“, „smiley face“ means funny… No need to go into deeper detail… you know your facial expressions and their related emotions from the set of emojis you use every day – soon, you won’t even need them anymore.
But if you want to avoid all of this, there is a bunch of new gadgets that help you to make it almost impossible to take advantage of your facial expression. This goes from 3-D printed resin prosthetic masks, to Fingerprint-Spoofing Strips or Umbrellas with integrated, to camera-blinding LED-Lights. A rather fashionable way to hide under the radar is called „Anti Surveillance Coat“, created by the Dutch designers of KOVR. It works a bit like a tunnel for your cellphone, blocking all the signals! Being made of metalliferous fabrics, it creates a shield around you, including all your signalizing paraphernalia like phones or cards with RFID and NFC chips.
FYI, there’s also a FashionTech Version of the classical tin foil hat. The Anti-Neuroimaging Surveillance Headgear by Italian design center, Fabrica, looks like a fashionable fascinator, worn in the belief or hope that it shields the brain from threats such as electromagnetic fields, mind control, and mind reading – let’s hope it doesn’t fall into the hands (or head) of someone as ambitious as Magneto.