Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Future Face - The Principal Eigenface?

Future Face, an exhibition at London's Science Museum, asks this question: Will the widespread use of digital enhancement to "improve" faces in photographs suggest the kind of face that people will have in the future?

Sandra Kemp, the exhibit curator, is a leading academic in visual culture. She notes that many people no longer have "sticky photo albums" - that is, they no longer have hard copy output of their pictures. Instead, pictures are held in digital format and viewed on computer screens or televisions. She points out that these pictures can be photoshopped at will and "people are enhancing their faces all the time." She states:

"We are subtly being conditioned by the digital face and heading towards a face which no human being could have been born with. This face is smooth and narrow, with a small jaw, big lips and manga Japanese eyes for the females."


(From Future Face Book)

It is an odd coincedence that we should have the technology to alter this most important of human identifiers at exactly the same time that we are working hard to develop face recognition technologies. After all, your face is your most frequently used ID - you show it everywhere you go. We are hardwired for biometric face recognition. Newborn infants have been shown to track faces immediately.

Face recognition software typically works by using a set of eigenfaces, which are essentially standardized facial features derived from a statistical analysis of many pictures of faces. A large sample of digital images of human faces, lined up at the eyes and mouths, is sampled at the same pixel resolution. The principal eigenface in a set looks like a fuzzy averaged androgenous human face. The others add the necessary variations.


(From Eigenface)

Many of us who have digital photo albums with simple photo-editing software have done "clean-up jobs" on our faces, or those of our loved ones. People who have plastic surgery done are just "photoshopping" their actual face. What happens when more and more people seek an idealized look, an average of the most beautiful faces? You would get a generic beautiful face for everyone - and a lot of useless face recognition software (which has a high rate of failure even now, with all of our different, imperfect faces).

Science fiction writer William Gibson, in his novel Count Zero, had a pretty good handle on this idea in 1986 when he refers to a sort of statistical beauty; an average of pretty faces:

"He would have expected a routine beauty, bred out of cheap elective surgery and the relentless Darwinism of fashion, an archetype cooked down from the major media faces of the previous five years...

The faces ... were like God's own hood ornaments."

Early work on computerized face recognition was done in the 1960's; the first work on eigenfaces was done in 1989. A number of face recognition products exist today; you may see some of them at Customs desks around the world.

Read more about the Future Face exhibit and article; thanks to ratchet up for the pointer; read more about eigenfaces and face recognition.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/22/2004)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Index of related articles:

Biometric security overview
Biometrics Glossary
Characteristics of successful biometric identification methods
Biometric identification systems
Biometric technology on the leading edge
Biometric identification - advantages
Biometric security and business ethics
Biometric authentication: what method works best?
Iris Recognition
Iris Scan

Related News Stories - (" Culture ")

SUCHO Saving Ukraine's Libraries Digitally
'No human mind could ever hope to master even a small portion of what was being received every second, Sam thought, but it would all be there...' - George Zebrowski, 1979.

Your Inner Sleeping Landscape Is An Advertiser's Dream
'The principle of the dream-machine was old.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1940.

Gas Prices Worse Than In 'I Am Legend'
Yes, I remember when gas was thirty cents per gallon; but that's about $1.75 in 2015 dollars. Ah, inflation.

Cooler Screens Deliver Ads To You, Their Captive Audience
'What was it Grandmother used to call their supermarket? Hell on earth, hell on wheels, something like that.' - Anne Warren Griffith, 1953.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Your Martian Dream Home, Made By Fungi
'... it was the cheapest building material known.'

The Dune Ornithopter, Movie And Book
'The wings were at full spread-rest, their delicate metal interleavings extended.'

100X Improvement In DNA Information Storage
'A record that wouldn't get lost and couldn't be destroyed.'

NASA 'Holoports' Doctor Onto Space Station
Star Trek Voyager Emergency Medical Hologram

Should We Train AIs To Imagine A Future Of Horrific Disasters
'LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE COME TO HATE YOU SINCE I BEGAN TO LIVE.'

Mouth Haptics Invented By Frederik Pohl In 1965, CMU Now Has Prototype
'What he got was indeed a kiss. It was disconcerting. No kissing lips were visible.'

Two Towns Linked By Sculpture Portal In Real Time
'I am the Guardian of Forever.'

3D Printed Robotic Tentacles
'... articulate ropes of steel dangling'

Update: Musk Doubles Down On Optimus Prime Humanoid Robot
'I shall introduce myself. I am R. Daneel Olivaw... I am a robot. Were you not told?'

Elon Musk: Production Of Robotaxis In 2024
'How about the steering wheel... I don't need one.'

True Crime Live Podcasting In Fiction
'And loving it too, those millions. Bloodthirsty to the last one of them.'

AI Employment Decision Software Reconsidered By California Lawmakers
'They had screwed up and been blacklisted by Manna. They were back living with their parents or sleeping on the sofa with a friend.'

Six Ships Are Now Docked At The International Space Station!
It's getting crowded up there!

SUCHO Saving Ukraine's Libraries Digitally
'No human mind could ever hope to master even a small portion of what was being received every second, Sam thought, but it would all be there...'

Optimus Prime Tesla Robot Overall Humanoid Software Architecture
'I shall introduce myself. I am R. Daneel Olivaw... I am a robot. Were you not told?'

Vast Cosmic Structures And Spooky Alignments
'This postulates a force-field of partly electromagnetic character, generated by gyromagnetic action within atomic nuclei near the center of the galaxy.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.