Microsoft Conflict With Police Over Facial Recognition

So we all know some of the controversies involving facial recognition. There are privacy concerns. There are also racial and gender concerns. The latter is the root of the Microsoft conflict with police over facial recognition.

So recently, Microsoft president Brad Smith said they spoke with a California police department (I don’t know which one). They wanted to buy equipment and body cameras with facial recognition technology. However, Microsoft turned them down. One reason is because the police wants to scan every face they pull over. This includes those they pull over even for the most minor of offenses. Apparently, Brad Smith saw where this can lead to.

He expressed concern that this could lead to racial and gender profiling. With this facial recognition, women and minorities could be a bigger target than white men. The IT support technology itself struggles with this. Because the facial recognition itself is trained mostly on ID’ing white men. Therefore, they could easily mistake a woman or a minority man. Then, as we all know, this technology can accuse people for crimes they didn’t commit. Thankfully, Smith says they are working on these flaws. They want these machines to get the person’s gender and skin tone right. Ironically, Smith revealed this at an AI conference in Stanford U., which is in California.

I actually have to agree with Brad Smith on this one. Often, news headlines shout about the law targeting the wrong person. Very often, the victims of this profiling are people of color. So I don’t say this often, but kudos to Microsoft for taking this stand. Many of you in computer repair have followed me for years now. So you know how I feel about AI technology period. If not, then this video pretty much sums it up. But at least this Microsoft conflict with police over facial recognition is starting up a conversation. It’s also raising questions and awareness. Do you trust facial recognition to get this right?

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