Jul 3, 2018

Facial recognition's moral dilemma

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies that focus on AI-powered computer vision "are struggling to balance business opportunities with difficult moral decisions that could turn off customers or their own workers," the AP's Matt O'Brien reports.

Why it matters: It’s part of a growing wave of concern about how Artificial Intelligence technology is used, especially involving facial recognition, Axios' Ina Fried emails.

Details:

  • A CIA-backed venture capital fund was spurned by Boston startup Affectiva, which makes face scanning tech.
  • CEO Rana el Kaliouby told the AP "it’s not hard to imagine using real-time face recognition to pick up on dishonesty — or, in the hands of an authoritarian regime, to monitor reaction to political speech in order to root out dissent."
  • The CIA's venture arm also approached facial recognition firm Kairos, CEO Brian Brackeen told Axios' Kaveh Waddell.
  • "As the black chief executive of a software company developing facial recognition services, I have a personal connection to the technology, both culturally and socially," Brackeen wrote in an op-ed.

Between the lines: China is apparently avidly investing in, and developing facial recognition tech, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva emails.

  • "Facial recognition — and more broadly, image recognition — has a range of applications, so everyone from tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, to startups have been working on it."
  • That includes "auto-recognition of Facebook photos, image search, detecting road elements, scanning documents — all kinds of applications."

Go deeper: IBM releases image data to improve facial recognition AI

Go deeper

Situational awareness

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Mike Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 NDAs
  2. Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges
  3. Bloomberg campaign says Tennessee vandalism "echoes language" from Bernie supporters
  4. Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers
  5. Nearly half of Republicans support pardoning Roger Stone

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.

Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 nondisclosure agreements

Mike Bloomberg. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg said Friday his company will release women identified to have signed three nondisclosure agreements so they can publicly discuss their allegations against him if they wish.

Why it matters, via Axios' Margaret Talev: Bloomberg’s shift in policy toward NDAs comes as he tries to stanch his loss of female support after the Las Vegas debate. It is an effort to separate the total number of harassment and culture complaints at the large company from those directed at him personally. That could reframe the criticism against him, but also protect the company from legal fallout if all past NDAs were placed in jeopardy.