November 24, 2009

Facial Recognition is the Future of Social Search

by Thomas K. Carpenter in augmented reality5 Comments

Nokia’s concept video shows what they think mobile computing will be in 2015.  The list rounds out the usual suspects of future-tech: cloud computing, geolocative services, service-anywhere and facial recognition, to name a few.  The last one tweaks my concerns about data harvesting and social stalking as presented the last two days (Thoughts on the OGI and Surveillance Society).  Seems like this is privacy week at the Future Digital Life.

Nokia isn’t the only one delving into this aspect of computer vision as Qualcomm gave a sneak peak into their future products and facial recongition tied to social networking is one of them.  Ben Sillis from Electricpig reports what the Qualcomm European president presented:

the company’s European president, Andrew Gilbert, showed how you would soon be able to point your phone’s camera at a person, then instantly bring up their Facebook and Twitter profiles, along with recent updates and all the details said victim (Karmen, in the above picture) has chosen to make public about themselves.

Gilbert admitted that the possibility raised serious privacy issues – you could theoretically pull up a person’s home address through automatic whois requests – but ethics aside, it’s an interesting next step for augmented reality apps, which layer data over the surroundings and have started to take off in a big way over the last year. As phones get faster and more powerful, what’s to stop people integrating this form of search?

Gilbert described a future where the “handheld device becomes the remote control of your life”. If you ask us, we’ve already reached that stage – would you take it to the next level like this?

Personally, I wouldn’t mind facial recognition tied to my social services as long as I controlled who had access to my face data.  Things get tricky when you have access to search anyone in your viewing distance.  Either way, facial recognition is sure to be part of the future of social search.


Thomas K. Carpenter

Thomas K. Carpenter is a full time contemporary fantasy author with over 50 independently published titles. His bestselling, multi-series universe, The Hundred Halls, has over 25 books and counting. His stories focus on fantastic families, magical academies, and epic adventures.

  • There are indeed two [critical!] deficiencies in the interactions assumed by these sorts of AR concepts (at least, as they are put forth now). I dubbed these patterns ‘The Invisible Man’ and ‘The Man behind the Curtain’ – more here http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2009/08/inside-out-interaction-design-for-augmented-reality.php – a while back. But I’ve yet to see the AR vendors talking about how to take these issues on, so it’s good to hear other voices mention them.

    Perhaps they’re assuming that efforts like DataPortability will create adequate solutions?

  • Well, we are going to have facial recognition searchs at some time. Its unavoidable.
    Dosnt need fancy AR stuff, just a bit of software and flickr could do it.
    Personalty, I really cant bring myself to care. “Democratic” privacy lose, where information can flow from many to many isnt nearly as scare as the “many to one” style privacy lose when just a government or a big organisation does it.
    Sure, theres the argument that one day someone might look at me, and see a load of details popup by me face, and maybe some of them wont show me in the best light for that person. But as long as the same also applys to them, I think it will all even itself out.
    It might be healthy for society, in fact. Maybe by not being able to hide our imperfections ourselves, we get more tolerant of others?

    I can see it helping some criminal activity’s (“those people going on holidays, there homes will be empty around now….”), but also hindering them too. (“whos that guy by the checking desk looking at people funny….”).

    Societys going to change massively. But I dont think it will be all that bad on the whole 🙂

    ” you could theoretically pull up a person’s home address through automatic whois requests”

    WhoIs is supposed to be for buisness’s, technically, not home address’s.
    If your running a business you -must- have a public address.
    The quirk is you cant have a .com without it.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}