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Two compelling applications for universal surveillance

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3rd May 2013 | 02:22

Face recognition is pretty good now: you can upload a picture to Facebook and it will automatically identify who is in the frame. Combine this with Google Glass and the idea of lifelogging: what can these technologies do as prosthetic memories?

I am at a party and I meet someone I am sure I have met before, but I can't remember. I could try talking to them until I get enough context to remind myself of their name, or I could just wink to take a photo, which is uploaded and annotated, and then I know their name, employer, marital status, and I have a picture of our last photographed encounter. Oh yes, now I remember! And we have saved a few minutes of embarrassing protocol negotiation and impedance matching.

But why wink? If I am lifelogging, everything I do gets uploaded. So when I see someone, I can be automatically reminded to say happy birthday, or that I need to give them the thing I offered to lend them. Contextual social cues!

How much embarrassment we could avoid! How sooner we could get to the fun part of the conversation!

(This post was inspired by a pub conversation with Ian Jackson and Mark Wooding; Simon Tatham suggested the auto-reminder feature.)

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Comments {8}

The Uitlander

from: uitlander
date: 3rd May 2013 07:37 (UTC)

Yes, but what happens when you take the red pill?

I'm unconvinced I want to invite the googleplex to record my life (or anything else) just so I can have a gentle reminder of someone's name.

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Rachel Coleman

from: rmc28
date: 3rd May 2013 10:12 (UTC)

I would prefer that admitting to not having a perfect memory is not actually a cause for embarrassment. I'm trying to get better at owning my awkwardness and just asking people again for their names.

Also I love conventions & conferences with name badges. NAME BADGES. I remember writing better than spoken words, and they remind me. Is so ace.

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(Deleted comment)

Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 3rd May 2013 12:01 (UTC)

Indeed, and I agree! But I can see that others might have a different view, and it's them that will take the photos that will tell Google and Facebook when you were in a particular place ...

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from: techiebloke
date: 3rd May 2013 10:40 (UTC)

I'm not sure that the wink is a good UI for this; it might be misconstrued ("Why does that bloke keep winking at me?")

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Gerald the cuddly duck

from: gerald_duck
date: 3rd May 2013 11:15 (UTC)

I'm honestly not sure if this is sincere, sarcastic or devil's advocate!

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 3rd May 2013 11:51 (UTC)

Mostly the latter two :-) An answer to the question about why anyone would want to stream pictures of everything they see to the cloud.

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Gerald the cuddly duck

from: gerald_duck
date: 3rd May 2013 14:35 (UTC)

Phew! In that case I shan't bother saying those things I hoped went without saying. (-8

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