Face Recognition and the Emergence of Smart Photography

Article English OPEN
Kember, Sarah (2014)
  • Publisher: Sage
  • Subject:
    acm: GeneralLiterature_MISCELLANEOUS

This article examines face recognition as a key instance of the emergence of smart photography. Smart photography, drawing on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Ambient Intelligence (AmI) manifests a ‘habit of mind’ (Karen Barad), or a way of thinking that is humanist in so far as it is predicated on human and machine autonomy, and representationalist in its quest for unmediated objects-in-themselves. Faces are among the objects that smart photography seeks (autonomously) to represent. By examining two of the principal algorithms of face recognition technology, the article will show how ways of seeing allied to ways of thinking that are also, ultimately, discriminatory and essentialist, materialise through software. Finally, if the ‘smart’ in smart photography means learning to discriminate between classes of faces that are fixed, essentialised and ultimately elusive (the stereotypical face of terror is both gendered and racialised) then how could smart be made smarter? This is a question of politics rather than progress.
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