January 11, 2007

Idea: Fun with facial recognition

A few years ago at Superbowl XXXV in Tampa Bay, police set up digital cameras at strategic points in the stadium, and used computers to compare everybody’s faces to a database of known criminals on the loose. The city of Tampa used the same system to scan faces on the city streets for the same purpose. The system was unsuccessful and no arrests were ever made, according to an ACLU press release, but a controversy arose over whether or not it was an invasion of privacy to subject everyone to a virtual police lineup.

Between a poor success rate and the controversy over privacy, facial recognition software got a bad rap.

Facial RecognitionBut maybe that could have been ameliorated if the technology had been used for entertainment purposes. What if the cameras scanned the crowds at the Superbowl and built a new database as it went, instead of using a database of known criminals, to find the two people in the audience who looked the most alike? It would be interesting to see, in a crowd of 100,000 people, how close a match can be found among strangers. Then, at halftime or during breaks in the action, the Jumbotron could showcase the closest matches in a series of “Separated at Birth?” moments.

How cool would that be to find your dopplegänger sitting just a few sections away at the Superbowl?


Very cool indeed

I think people would be upset at being paired up with fuggos as their “separated at birth” twins.

It’s always amazing what people will put up with if it’s for entertainment rather than law enforcement. I could see this working though. They could even look for player/coach lookalikes and offer pictures with the doppelganger etc. if you’re picked. That would be interesting to see.

Sometimes your posts crack me up. I seriously wonder what you’ve been smoking sometimes. It’s hilarious how you can equate something as specious as facial recognition software with a funny novelty device for use at sporting events. Seriously bro, puff, puff, pass, cause I could use some of what you’re tokin’.

No thanks, I don’t want to meet my evil twin. I hear he’s evil.

I’m just afraid I’ll meet my twin and find him to be a such a saint.

They’d have more entertainment tie-ins than that. Networks would sponsor television show nights so that if you looked enough like one of the cast of CSI or Friends or something you’d get in free, and they’d show you on the big screen with the rest of the lookalikes in the crowd while they ran plugs for the show.

And yet you still read them, don’t you noir? What would you call someone who constantly reads material he purports to dislike, just so he can complain and lob insults?
Of course, David’s blog is SUPPOSED to be funny—interesting, thought-provoking, but funny. If you can’t see that as clearly as everyone else seems to, then maybe you could use a little weed.

I think Wade needs some, too. noir wasn’t being insulting at all; he was calling David so creative as to be wacky.

Unless creativity is somehow a bad thing.

Very cool idea. The only problem I can think of would be if the people being shown on the Jumbotron got up to go to the bathroom.

I’d use it to find Waldo…jerk owes me $20.

Actually, I thought noir was trying to be insulting, too. Maybe I just jumped to that conclusion because you run into so many angry, caustic people online. It’s pretty easy to write in ways that aren’t insulting, so when I run across comments that seem to be insulting I tend to assume that was the intent.
I’m probably just getting old.
Anyway, another great idea, David.

Great idea. I can see this actually being used at some point in the future. I’ll make a mental note of you originating the idea. patent pending

Just to weigh in on the whole Noir-Wade exchange, I think that people like to fight online even if they really agree (I mean, both Noir and Wade are fans of David’s blog, clearly). Since we can’t misbehave at our jobs or in front of our families, why not let out our aggression to complete strangers on the web?

For the record, I thought Noir was paying me a compliment while being a bit silly. I didn’t take it critically. -David

Hey Butters - who you calling aggressive?