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Why Tesco's Facial 'Detection' Matters to Cities

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Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
12/3/2013 1:27:25 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Facial Recognition
Hi Mary,

Okay, now I understand. We're seeing new types of ads (e.g., facial recognition) and ads on mobile devices, but I think we've got a long way before new types of ads and technologies become as dominant -- and as lucrative -- as the "old fashioned" ones.

That said, new technologies will continue to be developed and tested. Eventually, "The Minority Report" ads -- and even more advanced advertising than that -- will be here and we'll wonder what happened. But even in "The Minority Report," there still were "billboard" ads -- they were just on large monitors and included facial recogntion. We've already got ads on large monitors, and facial recognition (not just detection) might be available for advertisers, too, although that could cause problems.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/2/2013 10:28:03 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Facial Recognition
Actually, I meant that advertising as we know it -- print ads, billboards -- may be dwindling in favor of subliminal ads and targeted ads online. But I am wrong, I think, and on reflection I believe that advertising and marketing have become so ingrained in our Western way of life that we don't even notice it for what it is anymore.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
12/1/2013 11:58:34 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Facial Recognition
Hi PeterJ,

The reactions to the NSA's monitoring ranges all over the place from absolute horror to "attaboy NSA," but I'm glad to see this has started a worldwide discussion and that most people are at least somewhat distressed. Facial detection and recognition fits into this discussion of privacy. 

We're already sliding down the slope and have to decide whether to gain a foothold and stop or to continue the slide. I suspect that in many countries the sliding will continue, including in the U.S.

PeterJ
PeterJ  
11/30/2013 10:00:22 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Facial Recognition
Yes, I'm not thinking we are close to revolution to preserve privacy. One only has to look at the the repsonse to widespread monitoing of telecommunications at many levels. Of course this is a differnet topic, but there are real societal shifts related to acceptance of a loss privacy in all parts of our lives. I do think it is a slippert slope that can have dangerouse consequences.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
11/30/2013 9:59:36 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Facial Recognition
Hi Susan,

My point is that facial detection/facial recognition and other technologies for advertising and marketing isn't going away. It will continue to evolve and be implemented as long as cities and countries allow it. Companies will push the envelope to the limit, and beyond if they can get away with it.

Some technologies will offer "opt in" or "opt out" (and companies will want only opt out).

This is one more science fictionish scenario that is already coming true. As a reader of science fiction since about the third or fourth grade, I realize not all of the ideas will come true. But there's no doubt that advertisers will continue to use as much technology as is effective. Citizens will have to decide when enough is enough... or too much.

Alan Sugar and his ilk will continue to proclaim how advertisers "deserve" all the data they can get.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
11/30/2013 9:51:59 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Facial Recognition
Hi PeterJ,

Advertising won't decrease. It will change to adopt more effective techniques, and technology will continue to play a major role. Facial detection and facial recognition will be part of that, at least in many countries where it is be legal. The march of technology isn't going to end, unless there's a true revolution against it.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
11/30/2013 9:48:52 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Facial Recognition
Hi Mary,

Advertising dwindling? Really? Perhaps I'm behind the times but that hasn't been my impression. It's quite possible that advertising money will switch more to mobile, but advertising itself will continue to roll along. Or are you thinking that "sponsored content" or subscriptions will replace/overshadow advertising?

Advertising and marketing will continue to employ advanced technology and it will only get spookier. I suspect that in the future (20 years?) "The Minority Report" will be considered simplistic.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
11/28/2013 8:21:39 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Facial Recognition
"This isn't going to end."

Your comment, Alan, is the crux of the matter to me. You say Tesco's cameras are only using facial "detection", but that's just one small step away from facial "recognition". 

As Simon Sugar stated (in your article), the justification for intruding on privacy is less clean cut for advertising than it is for security. But if advertisers go that route then there has to be an opt-out option in my view, in the same way there's a "right to be forgotten" (on the Web) law here in Europe.

Fascinating article, though.

PeterJ
PeterJ  
11/28/2013 8:12:07 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Eh
Nicole, I think you're right about the overall effectiveness of this kind of marketing. Not only might it get things wrong, but web tracking has become quite sophisticated. I'm amazed at how ads appear on pages for items Googled or searched on Amazon, not to mention localization of advertising based on geographic tracking.

PeterJ
PeterJ  
11/28/2013 8:07:57 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Facial Recognition
@kqyfm, this really does cross the line in my view. We are aware of certain observation for general security or even more invasive means when traveling, but the use of our images to obtain personal information is objectionable.

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