2019 is really off to a weird and interesting start – all credits to social media. A picture of an egg gathered about 25 million likes leaving behind the most liked picture on instagram, image of Kylie Jenner holding her baby’s fingers which gathered 18 million likes. Netflix had to issue a warning against people attempting to perform the Bird Box Challenge by blindfolding and injuring themselves. And then the #10YearChallenge broke in. This can be proven by the fact that whenever you happen to open your social media account, you will be able to see tremendous number of posts dedicated to this challenge. They can be from celebrities, your friends or from a teenager who is not even 18. Logically, for people, this challenge is just a way to brag about how hot they looked ten years ago and how hot they look now! The challenge is also known as ‘GlowUp Challenge’ or ‘HowHardDidAgingHitYou’.

facial recognition
But being in the race of becoming how hot you were and how you are now, people didn’t notice what was coming through with this trend! Although there are no evidences about who began this trend but it is being assumed that it was officially started by Facebook to refine it’s facial recognition Artificial Intelligence. Its evident that people who don’t agree with this view will counter this fact by saying that the pictures were already available for facebook to make use of them, but with this saying they are admitting to the fact that facebook is tracking them down, every now and them, whether it is their profile pictures, locations, interests and their other personal details.

facial recognition

In the 10 year challenge, people were instructed to post their profile pictures from ten years ago and their profile pictures of how they looked now. This became a race for the people to brag about how perfect and gorgeous they have become now and for their audiences to see it.

If we have to counter our opponent’s argument then we would say that facebook users never post their pictures in order or according to their age, some pics may be 5 years older or taken just yesterday but still be completely different. This doesn’t by any means helps facebook in refining their facial recognition algorithm. However, if Facebook comes up with this idea of posting the user’s picture from ten years ago and picture of them now, then a lot has been done for them. This makes them compare their pictures from ten years ago and their picture from now, allowing AI to be trained in facial recognition skills. This fact becomes more evident after Facebook was accused of Cambridge Analytica scandal. Hence, there would be no surprise if it was proven that facebook made this whole trend up to capture its users data.

So, the question is, is it bad that Facebook could use photos to train a facial recognition algorithm? Not necessarily. In a way, it is inevitable. Still, the thing to take away from here is that we need to approach our interactions with technology mindful of the data we generate and how it can be used at scale.

As for false pictures, image recognition algorithms are sophisticated to pick out a human face. Suppose if you uploaded an image of a dog 10 years ago and now, then that particular sample would be easy to throw out. According to experts, these images are supplying data companies with ample refined data to train their artificial intelligence (AI) systems in order to profile people based on their age progression.

Let’s just imagine that you wanted to, say, train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics. You’d ideally want a broad and rigorous data set with lots of people’s pictures. It’d help if you knew they were taken a fixed number of years apart – say 10 years,” wrote Kate O’ Neill, a technical expert.

Sure, you could mine Facebook for profile pictures and look at posting dates or EXIF data. But that’s a lot of noise; it’d help if you had a clean then-and-now. What’s more, the photo posting date and even EXIF data wouldn’t always be reliable for when the picture was actually taken,” she added.

In simple words, thanks to this meme, now there is a very large dataset of carefully curated photos of people from roughly 10 years ago and now.

In the midst of all this, we should remember that humans are the richest data sources for most of the technology emerging in the world. Our data acts as the fuel for making businesses smarter and more profitable. Hence, we should proceed with due diligence and sophistication.

About the Author

Megha Harsh serves as a content writer at The Ideaz Factory. She has been a student of English Journalism at the Indian Institute of mass communication. A writer by day and reader by night, she is loathe to discuss herself in third person. In addition to writing blogs, she also has interest in writing poems.