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A study by a U.S. agency has found that facial recognition technology often performs unevenly based on a person’s race, gender or age.
But the nuanced report published Thursday is unlikely to allay the concerns of critics who worry about bias in face-scanning applications that are increasingly being adopted by law enforcement, airports and a variety of businesses.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has been studying facial recognition for nearly two decades, but this is the first time it has investigated demographic differences in how face-scanning algorithms are able to identify people.
The study was prompted in part by growing concern among lawmakers and privacy advocates that biased results in commercial face recognition software could entrench racial discrimination in the criminal justice system and elsewhere.
The report cautions against “incomplete” previous research alleging biased facial recognition that has alarmed the public, but also confirms similar trends showing higher error rates for women, the youngest and oldest people, and for certain racial groups depending on which image database or software is being used.
“There is a wide range of performance and there’s certainly work to be done,” said Craig Watson, manager of NIST’s research group that studies biometric technology. “The main message is don’t try to generalize the results across all the technology. Know your use case, the algorithm that’s being used.”
NIST, which is a part of the Commerce Department, tested the algorithms of 99 mostly commercial software providers that voluntarily submitted their technology for review. It ran those algorithms on millions of FBI mugshots, visa application photos and other government-held portrait images such as those taken at border crossings.
Microsoft was among the major tech companies that participated in the research, along with dozens of lesser-known video surveillance providers and numerous China-based companies such as SenseTime, Hikvision and Tencent. Amazon, which markets face-scanning software to U.S. police agencies, did not participate.
Watson said that’s because Amazon’s cloud-based software doesn’t work with NIST’s testing procedures, though the agency is in talks with the company about how to test its algorithms in the future.
The agency’s report credits two widely-cited studies of facial recognition bias by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers for serving as a “cautionary tale” about uneven results across race and gender boundaries, though it also suggests they sowed public confusion in the way they sought to measure performance.
Joy Buolamwini, who led those studies and has urged a halt to the technology’s proliferation, said in an email Thursday that NIST’s study is “a sobering reminder that facial recognition technology has consequential technical limitations.”
“While some biometric researchers and vendors have attempted to claim algorithmic bias is not an issue or has been overcome, this study provides a comprehensive rebuttal,” she wrote.
She was echoed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which in a statement Thursday said that government agencies like the FBI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection should take heed of the report and halt their deployment of face-scanning software.
“Even government scientists are now confirming that this surveillance technology is flawed and biased,” said ACLU policy analyst Jay Stanley. (VOA)
By Himanshu Agarwal
After all, smart living is also about smart breathing. Unless we breathe clean and pure air even within our homes, smart living remains an incomplete aspiration. Therefore, as we pivot big time to a modern lifestyle with nearly 24/7 gadgets, utilities, and network dependency within our homes, a sense of balance with respect to the indoor ambiance must also be attained. And this balance necessarily means breathing pristine, unadulterated pure air even at homes.
Don't forget we breathe 24/7 even when living in smart homes
Of course, in this time and age when we are actively using some smart device or the other within the premises of our smart homes most of the time, the point that we are also breathing 24/7 need not be as labored. However, the question is: whether the quality of the air that we are breathing indoors is commensurate with the aspiration for this so-called quality of life and experience of living in high-class homes. In other words, even as we think we are living the 'high life' using all the fancy gadgets and increasing convenience in life, unless we breathe the right air, the desire and dream of quality living will not find true meaning.
Indoor air is worse than outdoor air
Efficient energy use reminds us of the need for efficient human energy too
Smart homes naturally mean most efficient and optimized energy use. | Photo by Unsplash
Keywords: smart homes, energy, indoor, air, breathing, outdoor, smart, air purification
By - Jhon Richardson
Buying clothes without trying it on
Sweating the small stuff
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Buying on impulse
Along row of clothes on sale Image credit: Photo by Duy Hoang on Unsplash
Shopping for others more than yourself
Settling for second best
Shopping in haste
Failing to consider your current wardrobe
Clothes Store Interiors can often tempt unplanned buying Image credit: Clark Street Mercantile
Buying things only because they're on sale
Focusing too much on the price tag
Not checking how something will fit before buying it
(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and contains some commercial links)
Keywords: Shopping, Impulse, Sale, Clothes, Mistakes