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 ")

Musk: Defeat The Bots, Authenticate The Humans
'I'm not a peace officer,' Rick said. 'I'm a bounty hunter.' - Philip K. Dick, 1968.

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.

 

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

Small Town Wants 60 License Plate Readers
'the registration number which the traffic control automatically photographed as she left the controlway...'

Lightyear 0 World's First Production-Ready Solar Car
'It could maintain a steady six miles per hour...'

AI Robots Excel At Trash Sorting And Recycling
'Then they press one of these here thirteen buttons...'

Could Increased Space Rocketry Damage The Ozone Layer?
'...without burning a single hydrocarbon molecule to injure the diseased atmosphere any further.'

Dyson's Secret Household Robots
'...work a human being does around a house.'

Festo BionicSwift Bird Robots Described In 1930
'Bird-like robots now descended from the ceiling of the theatre...'

Robotics Jobs In The Food Industry
'The efficient robot waiter of the Sky Club had cleared away the remnants of an epicurean meal.'

Prototype 3D Printer Could Print Arteries In Seconds
'...in the tank the new body and the new mind and memory and life has taken almost instant form.'

China Wants 'Hard Kill' Capability To Counter Starlink Satellites
'pirate three-vee satellites sanded out of orbit...'

Low-Cost Gel Pulls Water From Atmosphere Like Star Wars Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance. It had to be coaxed down...'

Pixy Flying Selfie Drone From Snap
'It hovered behind him like a large tame bee.'

Smallest Remote-Controlled Walking Robot Crabs
A robot 'as big as a dust grain.'

Pleasure Model Replicants Now Available
'Want a life-companion... sir, I can get you up any style you want.'

Robot Covered In Living Human Skin
'Hey buddy, you got a dead cat in there or what?'

Dall-E 2 Creates Art To Order
'Something different,' she said. 'Maybe a combined Miro and Goya.'

SpaceX Rocket Quick Reaction Force
'... the ship went into free flight, arching in a high parabola.'

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.