Thursday, February 23, 2012

Facial recognition technology coming to retail stores

From Click Orlando, Bars, stores to use facial recognition technology to increase sales. If you don't want to read the whole article, here's the gist. In a few weeks some businesses in central Florida will start using enhanced facial recognition technology to cater ads to a shopper's age and demographic. In other words, the store will have billboards that can determine your age and gender, then display ads it thinks you'll like based on your age and gender. If you're a 30 year old woman, you'll see ads for shoes and makeup, if you're a 40 year old man, you'll see ads for lawn mowers and grills. Or turkey deep fryers and socket sets, or whatever. Eventually stores will be able to recognize you as an individual and track your spending habits (like they already do). In fact, the FTC "worries about the time when technology becomes so advanced that your social media profiles are scraped for information." Another reason not to share all those deeply personal tidbits on Facebook or Twitter. No one wants to walk into the grocery and have an artificially intelligent billboard start shouting about the great deal it'll give you on Gas-Ex or Listerine. "Come on and buy it, Chuck! You tweeted that was the reason you couldn't get a date!" To avoid this kind of embarrassment, the FTC predicts that "people will be wearing camouflage so they're not picked up by facial recognition trackers all over the place." Well, who knows. Some people can only see the potential for abuse in new technology. I try to be a bit more optimistic.

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