Friday, April 22, 2016

Facial Recognition Software might have a Racial Bias Problem
"In 16 'undisclosed locations' across northern Los Angeles, digital eyes watch the public. These aren’t ordinary police-surveillance cameras; these cameras are looking at your face. Using facial-recognition software, the cameras can recognize individuals from up to 600 feet away. The faces they collect are then compared, in real-time, against 'hot lists' of people suspected of gang activity or having an open arrest warrant.

Considering arrest and incarceration rates across L.A., chances are high that those hot lists disproportionately implicate African Americans. And recent research suggests that the algorithms behind facial-recognition technology may perform worse on precisely this demographic. Facial-recognition systems are more likely either to misidentify or fail to identify African Americans than other races, errors that could result in innocent citizens being marked as suspects in crimes. And though this technology is being rolled out by law enforcement across the country, little is being done to explore—or correct—for the bias."

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