Mark Zuckerberg has hinted at the personally invasive future of social media. His new artificial intelligence technology doesn’t even need your face to determine who you are, but a new social media platform in Russia is launching that will make keeping your privacy in public nearly impossible – giving even Zuckerberg a run for his money.
Facebook’s technology figures out who you are with other cues aside from your face, such as a pose you frequently take, a hairdo, or even the way you hold your purse, but FindFace, launched two months ago and currently taking Russia by storm, allows users to photograph people in a crowd and work out their identities, with 70% reliability. This means that you aren’t even protected by staying off social media any more.
The social media platform started by another set of young, ego-bloated geniuses like Zuckerburg, completely dismisses the right to privacy, but this fact seems lost on a media hungry generation. 26-year-old Artem Kukharenko, and 29-year-old Alexander Kabakov already attracted 500,000 users to FindFace and have processed nearly 3 million people searches.
The platform works by comparing profile pictures on another social media platform in Russia, Vkontakte, with more than 200 million accounts. The designers of FindFace imagine a future where someone could sneak a picture of you on the street and track you down with ease.
It doesn’t take much grey matter to figure out that this could be used for yet another extension of the police state – where the offices of the NSA, CIA, KGB, and FBI (name your government agency) could force FindFace to turn over their files to government spooks, similar to the recent fiasco with the FBI suing Apple over a backdoor technology.
Unlike other face recognition technologies, the algorithm of FindFace allows quick searches in big data sets. Kabakov described this technological feat during an interview at the company’s modest central Moscow office:
“Three million searches in a database of nearly 1bn photographs: that’s hundreds of trillions of comparisons, and all on four normal servers. With this algorithm, you can search through a billion photographs in less than a second from a normal computer.”
The app will give you the most likely match to the face that is uploaded, as well as 10 additional people it thinks look similar. Though the recognition technology isn’t perfect, a 70 percent accuracy rate means you aren’t safe on the Internet, nor in any public place, if you happen to want some privacy or anonymity.
While some people might be thinking this is a genius way to get an attractive person’s number after seeing them at a bar, others realize the more nefarious purposes for which this technology could be, and likely will be used.