Hiding from AI might not work, but the attempts are at least entertaining
Researchers continue to seek ways to defeat biometric surveillance in public and semi-public places. Unfortunately, each idea involves costumes that look at home only in science-fiction movies.
So it is with the Ignotum project (translation from Latin: the unknown) led by the German design studio WertelOberfell.
Working with a cross-discipline group of research and industry collaborators, the designers have created an adversarial fashion strategy to throw face biometrics off the scent.
They came up with a black, layered poncho/throwover sewn through with electronics and flexible, light-strip grids designed to confuse AI biometrics viewing via CCTV.
The light patterns cause the biometrics algorithm used by the researchers to doubt if the black-clad, moving object was a human. In some cases, the software was only 33 percent sure it was viewing a person, according to WertelOberfell.
Ignotum builds on several previous efforts (some absolutely fanciful). The new project, like the others, is more of a statement to businesses and governments: Stop watching.
Previous research into strategies that force AIs to misidentify people has had colorful results.
Saudi Arabian researchers found that a person with a face full of disgust can fool facial recognition systems.
In Chicago, an eyeglass designer has started a business selling eyewear that hide a person’s eyes or even their face from biometric surveillance.
Researchers from IBM, MIT and Northeastern University created a T-shirt that hid the wearer from AI analysis. Bonus: Wired described it as “ugly.”
That reaction might have come prior to seeing one biometrics camouflage concept that involved gluing a column of black canine teeth down a person’s cheeks.
All, indeed, colorful ideas, but none can top the plan to have people wear headdresses that played a still, color image of another person over an AI-shy face in the Netherlands.