// open thread
“There’s something about facial recognition specifically that gives us the heebie-jeebies” (Dewey, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/06/18/we-tried-out-the-facial-recognition-software-that-match-com-will-use-to-find-people-who-look-like-your-exes/).
This article’s discussion of Match.com’s use of facial recognition technology is more or less a consideration of whether computers belong in the domain of human relationships, as intermediaries or otherwise. This particular instance of machine vision compares photos of a user’s exes to a database of other user photos, with the ultimate goal of matching that user with someone who looks like their ex. This brings computers into the dating scene in a much more direct way than survey-based matching websites do, because the computer is actively selecting people for the user rather than the user browsing the database themselves. I personally find this a little weird, because it implies that the computer is better at finding a romantic partner for me than I can for myself– this goes against every canonical and archetypical definition of romance I can think of. Further, that it searches for people that look like a previous partner is even creepier, and to some degree devalues the computer’s choice of person as just a substitute for one’s previous partner. I think the main source of the “heebie-jeebies” mentioned in the article is that people who choose to utilize this technology (at the exorbitant price of $5,000, no less) are taking a kind of romantic shortcut and allowing an algorithm to determine which face they will like best, regardless of personality and characteristics. Maybe this will lead to significant shifts in the way humans interact romantically; maybe this application of facial recognition will die out. The fact remains that facial recognition technology is being applied in novel ways and in all facets of society in our digital age.
If only I had been acquainted with this artifact before completing the research report (*sigh*). IBand+, a headband worn when sleeping, monitors a user’s brainwaves and sleep patterns in order to induce and simplify lucid dreaming, while also helping its user get a better night’s sleep.
The idea behind IBand+ should tempt the purely imaginative and the dull alike. The current research on sleep claims that better sleep simply leads to a more physically and mentally healthy human. When it comes to lucid dreaming, I believe we are tapping into the aquifer buried underneath our waking consciousness. When I was in high school, I would study for tests and go on adventures in the same lucid dream. The potential of controlling your dream is to access more of your mind at once than you would in your waking state. If a device can invite this as a regular experience, we have a device that wants to sell us a world beyond ourselves within ourselves. The implications of this are bone chilling.
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