AI facial recognition is too good, in two different ways!

Artificial intelligence based facial recognition is improving over time. However, it is a bit too good at recognising faces as two recent stories illustrate. The first problem is Google’s automatic facial recognition as used to blur faces in Street View imagery, tends to err on the over eager side and ends up blurring faces of statues, people in paintings, and now even a cow. Read more about it here (expect a lot of bovine puns).


A cow in Cambridge, England, has its face blurred for privacy reasons. See in Street View

The second story found here and here says that artificial intelligence based facial recognition can still identify faces fairly accurately even with face blurring. This would suggest that Google’s efforts to blur people’s faces in Street View may soon be thwarted and they will need to redo it all with a more secure method. The easiest reliable method is to completely cover faces with a square of solid colour. Another sightlier alternative would be to subtly warp faces in addition to blurring them so as to fool facial recognition algorithms. This should work until reliable body recognition becomes common place (yes that’s a real thing and probably works even better on cows than facial recognition does).

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.






PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.

Comments

  1. Here in Chile they even blur the street plates, what it makes really hard to contribute on unnamed streets in Maps.

  2. That’s why the unblurred backups of Google Street View should be kept. I say more – even if it’s illegal to do so, it still should be done. Sure, for illegal things there is possibly some risk of getting caught until the statute of limitations expire. But at least future historians would thank such daring street view providers for not destroying quality of photos. And if the humanity will begin regretting the mass blurring, the street view provider would anyway be retroactively forgiven and also get many thanks…



PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.