Tag Archives: Photographs

“We’ve cracked the brain’s code for facial identity”

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2133343-photos-of-human-faces-reassembled-from-monkeys-brain-signals/

 

Australia’s Face Verification Service

News that I didn’t have time to write about in November last year. The federal government of Australia plans to create a database of photo-id images. I’m not sure if this is just the National Facial Biometric Matching Capability renamed.

“A Face Identification Service (FIS) is expected to commence in 2017 to help determine the identity of unknown persons. It will be used for investigations of serious offences by specialist officers.”

Couldn’t be less detail or description or explanation in this statement.

https://www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtections/IdentitySecurity/Pages/Face-verification-service.aspx

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/australias-new-facial-verification-system-goes-live-441484

http://www.zdnet.com/article/australian-face-verification-service-starts-with-citizenship-imagery/

 

Ever noticed how the faces of couples often look a lot alike?

I notice it all the time, and perhaps this has something to do with being a super-recognizer. It seems to be especially common among couples that include a murderer or a politician. You should consider assortative mating or narcissism before you assume incest.

http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/1/4/400.short

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/147470490400200123

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886905003624

 

The trouble with police, large photograph databases and face recognition technology

Hodson, Hal Police mass face recognition in the US will net innocent people. New Scientist. October 20th 2016.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2109887-police-mass-face-recognition-in-the-us-will-net-innocent-people/

United States Government Accountability Office Face Recognition Technology: FBI Should Better Ensure Privacy and Accuracy. May 2016.

http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/677098.pdf

Had you assumed that hiring human super-recognizers to perform face recognition tasks would be less effective, less accurate and more open to bias than using technology? Think again.

Can you spot a sex offender or a terrorist just by looking at their face?

Adee, Sally Controversial software claims to tell personality from your face. New Scientist. May 27th 2016.

Similar story also in print: Issue 3076. June 4th 2016.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2090656-controversial-software-claims-to-tell-personality-from-your-face/

 

Another fascinating article about the important talents of supers

Robertson, David James (2016) Could super recognisers be the latest weapon in the war on terror? The Conversation. March 25th 2016.

https://theconversation.com/could-super-recognisers-be-the-latest-weapon-in-the-war-on-terror-56772

And don’t forget to check out the comments, one identifying a super-recognizer character in detective story literature.

 

In New Scientist

Face recognition row over right to identify you in the street

15:41 19 June 2015 by Hal Hodson

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27754-face-recognition-row-over-right-to-identify-you-in-the-street.html#.VYktFPmqpBd

Many of the clever face recognition tasks done by technology described here could be done by an experienced super-recognizer employee, and commentators concerned about privacy can go have a big cry over the things that supers can do, because you can’t legislate that people such as super-recognizers should refrain from using natural talents.

And more…..

Facebook can recognise you in photos even if you’re not looking

15:27 22 June 2015 by Aviva Rutkin

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27761-facebook-can-recognise-you-in-photos-even-if-youre-not-looking.html#.VYp5JPmqpBc

FFS, the dress problem isn’t psychological or perceptual

I’ve done my best to ignore the nonsense surrounding That Dress but I’ve lost patience with the abundance of stupidity that has been bought to the discussion. ISN’T IT AS OBVIOUS AS THE NOSE ON YOUR FACE? Neither the dress nor the photo of the dress are optical illusions. The dress was simply photographed under lighting conditions that gave rise to a photograph featuring colours that markedly differ from the actual colours of the dress as seen under regular lighting conditions, THEREFORE, the dress in the photo is different colours to the dress in reality. Here’s the big news; colours can be manipulated in photography! Amazing isn’t it? This manipulation can be done on a photo in computerized format using various computer applications, or the colours can be manipulated or altered before the photo is taken, by lighting of the scene to be photographed. In effect, the dress in the photo is a tint of the dress in reality. Why the confusion then? The confusion arose because the question “What colour is the dress?” requires clarification, but no one had the smarts to figure out that the question could be and was likely to be interpreted in two different ways, and thus the requirement for a clarification of the question was not identified. Some people, like myself, interpreted the question to mean “What colour is the dress in the photograph?”, and clearly it is a cold, mauvey-blue unsaturated colour and golden brown, no black, definitely no black, as anyone could see if they held an actually black item up against their computer screen while viewing the photo of the dress on their screen. Understandably, many other people interpreted the question as an invitation to guess, reason or theorize what the colour of the dress might be in reality, based on the way it appears in the photo. These people correctly and cleverly guessed or reasoned that the dress is blue and black. I do wonder about those who saw white and gold, but the question was a trick question, so I wouldn’t judge them.

There’s nothing I love more than a good optical illusion or perceptual anomaly, especially in real life situations, but I’m very sure this dress thing is not one of them. This problem appears to be one for the philosophers, not the psychologists or the scientists, but then again, I’m tempted to wonder whether there might be some measurable psychological or neurological or behavioural difference between those who naturally give an answer based on their immediate visual perception and those who naturally give an answer based on their own interpretation of their visual perceptions. I suspect that the difference might be interesting and meaningful. I’ll bet the former are less prone to most genuine visual illusions.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27048-what-colour-is-the-dress-heres-why-we-disagree.html#.VPVaTvmUd8

Postscript March 5th 2015

I’d like to add another point to this post. From what I’ve read this entire dress discussion had it’s origin in the non-scientific world of social media “guys please help me – is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the fuck out”. This young lady who does not appear to be a scientist or a psychologist discovered a very interesting perceptual anomaly phenomenon thing that has sparked huge discussion, including discussion by and among scientists, and the story has been reported in at least one international science magazine. I find it interesting that this dress meme didn’t come from the world of science. Would it have been ignored or have failed to “go viral” if a scientist had discovered The Dress? Does this say something about the sociology of this meme, or is it more the case that a non-scientist has discovered a phenomenon that is more interesting (in regard to the way it has identified puzzlingly polarized responses in large numbers of people) than anything that scientists or academics have discovered recently. Is this an example of non-scientists (not even citizen scientists) making a greater contribution to the science of colour perception than the actual scientists who are supposed to be right on top of this stuff? I know that researchers and others have identified many different types of visual illusions that are supposed to trick most or all people, but I’m not aware of a visual stimuli that polarizes viewers the way The Dress does. Am I simply ignorant? As I have written before, I believe that science is too important to leave it to the scientists.

Super-recognizers? Why bother?

The world must be amazed and horrified by the recent disappearance of a jet plane full of passengers in Asia, with no trace of evidence to confirm what has happened to the flight. At least two things are remarkable about the disappearance of MH370; the lack of evidence of the whereabouts of the plane or wreckage, and the revelation of the lack of care commonly practiced in many countries in checking passports.

I don’t travel much, but it is my understanding that passports have photos in them that border-control staff are supposed to check against the appearance of the person presenting the passport as theirs, to see if the person in the photo is the same person claiming to own the passport. Clearly, it would be a good idea to hire super-recognizers to work in this role. But this idea seems almost comical when one considers that there is such a lax degree of border control practiced at many airports that it is reportedly a common thing for people to travel on passports that have been reported as stolen and are entered on an international database of suspect passports. The fact that two of the people on the missing place were travelling on stolen passports is therefore now seen as not such a big deal, and is not considered to be solid evidence of terrorist activity. While border control and security is such a low priority and so poorly done, we can hardly expect that organizations responsible for these functions will show much interest in recruiting super-recognizers.

A super-recognizer moment

I’ve been looking at stuff from the WA Museum and Lost Perth on Facebook, and there was a photo of the Perth fashion designer Aurelio Costarella taken with a department store Santa Claus when Mr Costarella was seven years old. The instant I saw the photo I recognized the santa (or the Father Christmas as we would have said back then) as the same one who was in a old Santa’s knee shot taken of me when I was around ten years old. I always thought of this santa as looking a bit too much like the character Zachary Smith in the 1960s TV show Lost in Space. I think that is what we might call a super-recognizer moment. Lost Perth also featured a photo of the old Bairds department store which was in the Perth CBD. I can still remember the interior of that store like I was there yesterday, and I think that might be related to the fact that it is one of the many memories of scenes that I experience as synaesthesia concurrents evoked by thinking about specific concepts. There’s nothing like an old photo, and a sometimes-photographic memory, to bring the past alive.

https://www.facebook.com/wamuseum

https://www.facebook.com/LostPerth