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I fully agree with your sentiment but I don't agree with a ban. Prohibition doesn't work. You should be able to use it but the legal risks and liability you open yourself up to by using it should be strong enough to deter its use except when there truly is no substitute. Asbestos comes to mind as an example. People (often on HN) often run in circles and scream about the sky falling because "OMG it's not banned" but the reality is that the court of public opinion has basically ruled it is not ok to use. That's how I want to see facial recognition tech and other tech that enables corporations and governments to stalk people at scale treated



> Prohibition doesn't work

You're appropriating sociological behaviors of the individual to maxims at the corporate level, which is ridiculous. Corporations need to be regulated, not coddled in some kind of convoluted, scaled-up, harm-reduction policy.


Public opinion is what ultimately is the determining factor here. If the public does not strongly want to punish companies for doing something then the government will not be successful at punishing companies for doing something. In a democracy government follows public opinion. In the absence of strong public opinion you get corporate interests shaping what government does.

Yeah, sure, ban it. But without social consensus backing up those laws it will have no teeth in practice.


Amen to that. And public opinion is easily manipulated. Create fear and people will give up their rights , if someone resists accuse them of being anti-freedom, anti-patriotic, against the free market, communist/socialist, helping terrorists,etc. Use the media which is owned by the same people politicians protect and in no time most of the population will comply


For instance, I am transgender. This kind of technology would allow them to identify "masculine" features of my face that I didn't ask for. This could cause me to be profiled as male, regardless of what my court order or personal preferences say.

This kind of technology is fundamentally dangerous to people who do not fit cleanly into the rigid caste-like boxes that are used to categorize people.


This is equivalent to asking to ban glasses to prevent short-sighted people from identifying "masculine" features. If people can learn to handle the information they see, they can teach the same to the algorithms they use. So while i agree that there are dangers, i can't agree that banning face recognition is the solution to that.


It's almost ironic that we're progressing through a social evolution where we have to have conversations with people to understand their desired pronoun; while at the same time developing software that will suffer the same fate. Appearances mean nothing, but that's all (this) software can use.

Perhaps a small badge with visual friendly metadata would be handy. Not that we need to give them more information of course, just thinking out loud. The idea of everyone walking around with a little badge on their chest containing their metadata is oddly dystopian haha.


> The idea of everyone walking around with a little badge on their chest containing their metadata is oddly dystopian haha.

This idea was tried before, but for just a subset of the population, though: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_concentration_camp_badge


FWIW, it's started appearing on conference badges in some circles: Name, affiliation, role, pronouns.


That's a bit dramatic to my comment, imo. You could say the same for police, or any institution that uses identifying information - even uniforms.

Like it or not we all have piles of metadata that follow us around. A big one is our face. It won't take long for facial recognition to do the same thing I mentioned in the previous post; except you won't have a choice then. Hell, you won't even know.

The metadata badge idea was of course not serious; but it doesn't seem so farfetched to me or absolutely terrible. It (as I proposed it), at least, would be something you controlled.

Which, unlike state IDs, licenses or Nazi' camp badges are not something you would control.

I do not appreciate the extreme association with a free-thought idea to that of the worst massacre in history. I'll assume you meant no harm, but still - I figured I had to at least express clarification.


Is there any intention of using cameras to categorize people as opposed to just looking for specific criminals that are on the loose? What would be gained by categorizing you as a male or not?

I.e, someone robs a bank, their face is captured, get an alert when they are seen else where.


Omigosh, thank you for mentioning this! I am also transgender and had never even considered the implications of this.


+1 from another trans woman


Pardon the ignorant question, but is there an accepted "standard" for pronouns when someone identifies themself as you did?

Which is to say, if you say you're a "trans woman", am I able to infer that your desired gender pronoun is female?


> Which is to say, if you say you're a "trans woman", am I able to infer that your desired gender pronoun is female?

Yes, this is indeed a generally safe assumption. View "trans" like any other self-descriptive adjective. "I'm a tall woman", vs "I'm a trans woman". It's not an absolute given, because nothing is black and white (some might prefer gender neutral pronouns), but generally safe.


The best way to know for sure is to ask them instead of making any assumptions.


Truly we have transcended parody.


I'm not trans but have several trans friends, and just wanted to add (as a non-trans person), make a best guess for how someone presents and if they correct you, do not joke about it. No jokes, no extra comments, Just say, "sorry, got it," and move on. It's a matter of respect and nothing more, and if you respect someone, it's easy to show it. Making a joke about something that's important (and possibly sensitive) to someone is just a bad start.


I don't think it's necessary to be so careful. If they can't take a joke I don't wanna hang out with them.


You would use she/her pronouns for trans women, and he/him pronouns for trans men. Just treat trans women as you would any other woman, and trans men as you would any other man.

Generally people who prefer neutral pronouns will identify as nonbinary, genderqueer, or perhaps transmasculine or transfeminine, (although not all people who so identify prefer neutral pronouns) and you might need to ask them for their preference.


Counterpoint: How many cloned humans have we seen?

Prohibition works when the barrier to entry is higher. Any mook with some yeast and sugar can make alcohol. Pot grows just about anywhere (which is why they call it weed). But not a lot of people are privately developing nuclear bombs or cloning humans.


Arguably, the barrier to entry for facial recognition software (or almost any software, for that matter) is way lower than for developing nuclear bombs or cloning humans. Of course it won't be production level of big corps, but a group of less than 5 engineers can definitely hack up a facial recognition software that works fairly decently with only ramen money and a bit of AWS credits.




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