A simple tweet has sparked a very real and scary possibility. Is Facebook’s “10-year challenge” just a harmless trend, intended to showcase your own 10-year journey, or is it a brilliantly constructed movement to gather facial recognition data? Come on, that sounds moronic. We all know that we can always trust Facebook when it comes to these proposed conspiracies… right?
It started with Kate O’Neill’s tweet:
Me 10 years ago: probably would have played along with the profile picture aging meme going around on Facebook and Instagram
Me now: ponders how all this data could be mined to train facial recognition algorithms on age progression and age recognition
Now it is catching traction and fueling the fires of the internet world.
Imagine that you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics and, more specifically, on age progression (e.g., how people are likely to look as they get older). Ideally, you’d want a broad and rigorous dataset with lots of people’s pictures. It would help if you knew they were taken a fixed number of years apart—say, 10 years.
O’Neill’s thesis is pretty well-founded. Read it for yourself on Wired.