The Need for Speed

Note: this is the text from a Linkedin post I wrote, in response to a post by Cathy Hackl, She visited a concept store that features Alipay’s “smile to pay” facial recognition payment technology. Here’s her video: 

As I’ve written about before, I have some very serious reservations about facial recognition technology and how it will completely remove any semblance of privacy or anonymity.

Putting that aside, this has a high “neat” factor. Not sure that I need my hamburger that *split second* faster, and I’d like to know more about how security around it works – but in essence it’s little different than using your phone to pay.

And unfortunately, it’s inevitable. What I am worried about is having our biometric data stored in so many databases, where we have no knowledge or control over how the data is stored and used. Yes the credit card company already know things about us, and can track us through transactions and location. But those things are still things that can be stopped; change accounts, banks, and your data is not permanent and persistent. Your face is yours, forever.

Amara’s law states that, “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” It certainly seems to apply.

Slightly uncanny valley

Wow. So. Uncanny valley…one {really bad} selfie and the Pinscreen app maps my face to a 3d avatar from their library (nb: all the female avatars are ridiculously uber sexed up – no, that’s not my body).

It follows what my face is doing as well –  with “AR” mode my face was mapped to my boyfriend’s body, with the real room in the background. Amazing how quickly this is all developing; that’s 3 examples in the last few weeks of technology that can quickly, and sometimes – on the fly, create 3d avatars from existing faces and instantaneously apply realistic, real time motion.

PS you’d think with all this technology, they’d at least also have a “beauty filter” button.

PPS: If anyone’s interested in Pinscreen’s fascinating paGAN technology for photorealistic 3D avatar synthesis from a single picture, this is their video “Deep Learning-Based Photoreal Avatars” that they presented at SIGGRAPH Asia 2018 in Tokyo.