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Last Week in AI #54

Large-scale Facial Recognition, AI and Coronavirus, and more!

Last Week in AI #54

Image credit: Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

Mini Briefs

Clearview’s Facial Recognition App Has Been Used By The Justice Department, ICE, Macy’s, Walmart, And The NBA

Clearview AI, an American technology company that provides facial recognition technology, has been found to have a number of clients in addition to law enforcement agencies. The company is already under legal threat, and myriad reports provide evidence that the company’s technology is being used by a number of different actors, sometimes with little concern for the potential impacts of the technology. The uses of Clearview’s facial recognition technology are concerning and controversial–now that the ubiquity of Clearview’s technology has been brought to light, further discussion on this is sure to ensue:

Employees at big-box retailers, supermarkets, pharmacy chains, and department stores have also trialed Clearview. Company logs reviewed by BuzzFeed News include Walmart (nearly 300 searches), Best Buy (more than 200 searches), grocer Albertsons (more than 40 searches), and Rite Aid (about 35 searches). Kohl’s, which has run more than 2,000 searches across 11 different accounts, and Macy’s, a paying customer that has completed more than 6,000, are among the private companies with the most searches.

Coronavirus is the first big test for futuristic tech that can prevent pandemics

While the recent outbreak of COVID-19 is causing global concerns, it’s also putting a lot of technology on display. Some restaurants in LA are on scanning patrons’ foreheads with infrared thermometer guns, screening potential customers for the respiratory disease. Much more impressive technology is being showcased in the fight against the novel disease. Robots and drones are used to minimize in-person contact, AI algorithms are used to study the outbreak’s spread and search for treatments, and facial recognition technology are used in places like Moscow to impose quarantines. Vox comments on the role of surveillance:

Proponents of surveillance tech focus on threats to peoples’ safety and property, pointing to “dangerous” people like terrorists and sex offenders. Less often, however, do proponents of this technology point to the safety risks associated with a potential pandemic. But now critics of surveillance tech — who have typically argued that the technology threatens our civil liberties and sometimes doesn’t even work — will likely have to push against a different argument: severe threats to public health. It’s ultimately unclear how the public will react to the shifting role of surveillance.

Advances & Business

Concerns & Hype

Analysis & Policy

  • First analysis of the EU Whitepaper on AI - This week, Europe took a clear stance on AI; foster the uptake of AI technologies, underpinned by what it calls “an ecosystem of excellence”, while also ensuring their compliance with to European ethical norms, legal requirements and social values, “an ecosystem of trust”.

  • U.S. Military Adopts New Ethics Guidelines For Artificial Intelligence - The U.S. military has adopted new ethics guidelines for the use of artificial intelligence in its futuristic robot tanks and smart weapons systems, according to a new press release by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Expert Opinions & Discussion within the field


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