Fingerprinting and face recognition technology will allow for surveillance in a hyperconnected slave grid.
It is called by many, “affective computing” or the ability to easily and instantly recognize you enywhere on the planet.
You are right in thinking that there is nothing new on this topic, because social media and technology companies have been at it for a long time. Except that the coming surveillance state is orders of magnitude larger than most people understand and is being sold as the next best thing since sliced bread was invented.
We live submerged in the middle of the era of affective computing, experts say. It is a moment in which biometrics and applications are the basis of the latest technological developments.
Facial patterns, voice, fingerprints and the iris are just some examples of biometric systems that are marking changes in sectors such as security, automotive, health or government administration.
The biometrics market in the US alone will reach 7.2 billion dollars by 2020. In the next few years, the mobile biometric market will have surpassed 50 billion in annual revenues, according to the market intelligence data of Acuity.
Its diverse applications have led the biometric market to experience a considerable boom and become the focus of companies around the world, especially if we talk about facial recognition.
Among these companies are Nvidia and AnyVision, both well-known multinationals in the technology sector. They have partnered to create a facial recognition system that can be integrated into surveillance cameras to create “smart cities”.
The Australian Immigration Minister launched the Non-Contact Travelers project to offer visitors an automated authorization process. A few days ago, the news leapt that at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games a facial recognition system will be implemented to identify the participants, staff members and the press.
What all of this technology lacks is supervision, since it is controlled by technology giants or powerful governments. Choose your poison.
It is extraordinary to see how the press discovers and writes about the advancement of computer biometrics, but journalism also has the potential to produce these techniques within its scope.
Right now, the Wall Street Journal is using this technology as well as AI to write news articles. News media are now considering facial recognition as a tool to offer “better content” to subscribers by using facial emotions and track eye movement to customise the news.
Through the detection of emotions through facial parameters and eye tracking, Gemma García, a researcher in affective computing, was able to learn what readers experience in the face of real news about the problem of plastic in the oceans.
With this system it was possible to track real-time emotions that are expressed as they progressed in reading, what words were more or less attractive and, above all, she was aware of the impact that some issues had on the reader.
To journalists like me, mass media have the job of informing, but they seem to be getting into a field that goes beyond their business.
Journalism, like other sectors, could benefit greatly from this technology, and so would marketing. Spying on readers in real time would allow corporations to know more about readers and followers to achieve a premeditated impact that would go beyond informing and into the field of mass manipulation.
In branches such as political communication, biometrics can be applied to the analysis of electoral discourses. Candidates could be coached, in real time, about the reaction that their rhetoric is having on the audience so his speech could be modified to make him appear more palatable, for example.
Mas media can use that information to analyze the coherence of their message and offer new approaches that could easily help manipulate public opinion more than they already do.
“There are certain large issues in which you can help a lot to know that the person in front of us is lying,” says Garcia. “And if we talk about content, the opportunities are multiplied: knowing if a news provoke the emotion we seek, knowing if it is a cause holder or, simply, being aware that a topic is interesting for readers is very important,” she adds.
As in many other aspects of life, technology is neutral. It is those who use it to their advantage the ones who make it bad or good. In this case, mass media corporations have demonstrated their lack of care for their readers by attempting to sway them into dark information corners. Now, they have the ability to do just that in real time to an even less informed public.