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.
But 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?