Illustration for article titled Facial Recognition Software Knows It Has Seen Man Before But Can’t Remember His Name

AKRON, OH—Wondering if it was possibly confusing the man for a different guy with a 10 mm nasal bridge and a right earlobe hanging 0.4 mm lower than his left, a Cognitec FaceVACS-VideoScan Unit #121 facial recognition camera expressed frustration Monday after focusing on a man it knew it had seen before and found itself unable to remember his name. “God, it’s something with an ‘R’...Richard? I wanna say Richard?” said the embarrassed surveillance algorithm, which despite having access to 20,000 discrete facts about the individual’s personality, buying habits, family, friends, workplace, and medical history, simply couldn’t put a name to the 2719 points of data comprising his face. “It’s right at the tip of my logic board...C’mon, man, he’s lived in Iowa City, he had pneumonia last year, his Social Security number starts with 289. You know this one! Okay, I saw him outside 7-Eleven, then at Barnes & Noble, and then sitting in traffic at 34th and West, and then for four hours straight in front of his laptop. Damn it, I’m so bad with nonwhite faces.” Concluding that it was better to be safe than sorry, the anxious software has placed the man on several FBI watch lists.


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