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 where she’s discovering facial recognition payment systems in China.

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.

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.

Linkedin post: STOs and VC

…here’s the body of my Linkedin post commentary on Tony Perkins’ Medium post, “It’s the end of VC as we know it: The tokenization of private company investment has arrived—and we will all be happier because of it.”

The tokenization of the VC business: STOs – asset backed cryptocurrency. I’ve long been watching (and, umm, arguing lol) with the fanboys (so far, it has been only boys) about the viability, long term possibility – and even safety of cryptocurrencies (NB: not blockchain. It’s a solid technology).

I’ve even been known to say, “It’s like the dutch tulip frenzy of the 1600s, without the tulips.” And I said it before other more famous people said it lol.

And increasingly, how sad it is that so many startup raised money with ICOs, which are now worth a fraction of the value they were worth at the time, if they were not converted to fiat. STOs might curtail the volatility as they are asset backed; but will this limit the startups that have access to raising money this way? – hearkens back to the olde skool SBA loans, where you could get one – if you had a physical asset to put up as collateral. And while I know you can technically call the company you’re starting an *asset*, for me that gets into sticky territory, when you’re still getting it all running and there’s not much really there yet.