One of the reasons we study history is to see how the future may play out. Recorded history goes back more than 5,000 years and from I’ve read of ancient historical accounts in the Bible, not much has changed with humanity. Knowing that, what is coming in the future may be visible today.
Cameras are everywhere. The 21st century and the digital age have made mankind a keeper of the present and I’m not just talking about digital photos saved on your Mac or posted to Facebook and Instagram. With iPhone X we have a device who knows who we are. Or, at least, what we look like.
Can we extrapolate this watershed moment toward the future? Yes. And it might not be pretty to view.
First, iPhone X with Face ID knows what we look like. How long before our iPhone’s know if we’re happy or sad, tired or frustrated? Somewhere in the near future we may need to contend with Voice ID, or an always-on Siri that actually listens to our conversations and then reviews it later.
That’s just iPhone. We know Face ID is coming to iPads and Macs in the future, and why not Apple TV and Watch? Apple has a winner on its hands and soon facial recognition technology will be ubiquitous.
Anybody see a problem with that?
Recently I read an article about the Canary security cameras. Similar cameras are everywhere these days, and work well as security cameras with built-in motion sensor. Whenever someone or something enters the camera’s vision, you get a notification on your iPhone and you can check in to see wassup.
Canary says Person Detection is coming. In other words, the device will learn the difference between human and dog, or human and cat, and notify you accordingly. How long after that when the latest security camera knows who it watches and notifies you accordingly? Yes, we see that kind of thing on N.C.I.S. all the time but reality is somewhat different than television.
For now, we live in a society with an abundance of cameras that can and do record photos and videos, for personal use, professional use, and for security. Such cameras are inexpensive and tie into smartphones and that makes them nearly ubiquitous. What’s next is the machine learning capability that cameras and their built-in applications have to recognize not just movement across the plane of the camera, but what is moving, and how it relates to you.
A camera that watches your children play at home as a nanny cam is not a necessary alert, but a nanny whacking your kid’s behind could trigger an alarm and an alert on your phone. Many intersections in certain cities are monitored by traffic cameras and some snap photos of drivers and their cars when they go beyond the speed limit or run through a red light. Could city governments tap into a massive user database which captures your photo or video when you break a minor law, then send you a notice and automatically deducts the fine from your bank account?
Judge Dredd, anyone?
I love my iPhone X’s camera and TrueDepth Face ID system and already there are apps which take advantage of the face recognition capability, but I worry about where this is headed.