The danger of artificial intelligence recognizing any face

Recently, Clearview AI, a facial recognition company, told its investors that its new plans include collect 100 billion photos of human beings. As they stated, this would make their facial recognition technology, coupled with the power of artificial intelligence, able to recognize almost any human being on earth.

With 7 billion inhabitants in the world, the amount pointed out by Clearview generates a average of 14 photos of each individual on the planet. Furthermore, they assure that said reconnaissance power could be used to help surveillance systems and criminal investigations around the world.

These images were collected by Clearview from the Internet. According to the company’s CEO, Hoan Ton-That, “Clearview AI’s publicly available image database is legally collected, like any other search engine, including Google.” However, it seems that some agencies are not happy with the panorama projected by this new business plan; and for good reason.

Years ago, there was talk of how the Chinese government sought to control its population through the facial recognition it had successfully implemented in its country. Now we face the same thing, only worldwide. What dangers could result from an artificial intelligence capable of recognizing anyone in the planet? Beyond the good intentions that Clearview claims to have, is it really ethical to store the face of every person in the world? What could be the consequences?

Dangers to civil liberties and the right to anonymity

Right to anonymity

During the Hong Kong protests in late 2019, protesters took precautionary measures to protect their identities. In China, facial recognition technology has been used for some time to monitor and arrest people who may be linked to crimes in the Xinjiang region, according to a report. Washington Post. For that, the consequences for the protesters seeing their faces filmed would be devastating.