Beyond the crowded aisles and long checkout lines, shopping at grocery stores or department stores during normal daytime hours is a hassle because there’s always I’ll hear through the din: “Nick? Nick!” And it ends up being one of several hundred people I could have easily gone the rest of my life without having to talk to again, much less having to rehash the last 5-15 years of my life. But I don’t want to wear glasses with a fake mustache and oversized hat in order to fool people. So I shop at night.
Minus the hat and mustache, a pair of glasses – regular lab goggles to be more precise – developed by Japanese researchers can fool facial recognition software. Inspired party by artist Adam Harvey’s face-paint and hairstyle methods of thwarting facial detection technology, Isao Echizen, an associate professor at Tokyo’s National Institute of Informatics, and Seiichi Gohshi, a professor at Kogakuin University, developed the glasses, which house a series of circular lights that emit near infrared light, invisible to our eyes, which distorts the features when viewed by cameras and Facebook imps. The glasses are connected by wire to a battery carried in the pocket.
Considering we’ve gone this long without having facial recognition assimilated into our everyday lives, and the privacy issues it has already brought up are quite a headache to sit through. I think John Woo, Nicolas Cage, and John Travolta unintentially showed us the negative consequences of what happens when people’s faces are their only link to…you know, I don’t really remember what the movie was about.
It isn’t even a finished product. Echizen explains, “We are developing an improved version of the privacy visor without power supply consisting of transparent materials that reflect or absorb specific wavelengths.” As you can imagine, outside companies are interested in bringing these products to the outside world, which challenges Echizen’s prediction that the finished product would only cost consumers “around $1 per unit.”
And so these will come out. And then software developers will up the ante and change their tactics. And then some other researchers, probably still Japanese though, will invent the next thing that stops the other new thing. By that time, we should all be pod people under the New World Order anyway, so individuality will be rendered moot. All hail Korrok!