Blippar – augmented reality and facial recognition – potentially useful & dangerous all at once!
Technology is cool. We love technology and how it can enhance our lives. The internet and social platforms have revolutionised how we communicate and it’s fantastic. What we are seeing now is massive technological jumps in much short timescales and the release of Blippar is a taster of a big jump. Moving into the realms of meta data, augmented reality and facial recognition. Remember that scene in Minority Report when Tom Cruise is trying not to be noticed but in walking through the mall, all the shops recognise his face and start selling their wares to him personally.
Introducing Blippar, the app that uses facial recognition software to recognize your image will be allowing users to ‘claim their face’ in the digital space. Blippar is a visual discovery app, using augmented reality and machine learning to bring the physical world to life through smartphones.
At the moment Blippar have already uploaded 70,000 images of public figures and celebrities to their facial recognition feature. They want you to add yours.
Fun right? So Picture This.
You’re in a nightclub, dancing, music blaring. Guy in the corner, takes a picture of your face with his Blippar app. You don’t notice. On his screen your picture now brings up your social media profiles, more online details as well as anything that might have been in the media about you. In the snap of a picture he now has your school/workplace, area you live in, friends, photographs… and anything out there making up your online reputation. Might be pretty easy for him to bump into you again right?
We have been talking to students (and adults!) about this for years now. How as users of social media platforms we need to be more careful with the images we are uploading online, the personal information which we are sharing online and also who we are randomly accepting as ‘friends’. Still at the end of 2016, young people in particular are focusing on the number of followers they have on their channels! Quality, People. Not quantity. No-one needs thousands of people following their personal profiles. Unless you’re a Kardashian, maybe. And even then the only reason they want millions of followers is to sell you an ideal, or products that you don’ t really need.
Now if you’re looking after your privacy, and don’t ‘give them your face’ Blippar can be a pretty useful tool. Imagine you’re visiting a museum or art gallery, and you came across a painting you liked but wanted to know more information about it. That’s simple with Blippar ..All you do is is take out your phone, scan the image and Blippar will identify other useful information about it. It’s available for IOS and Android devices and once downloaded people can ‘blippar’ objects they’re curious about, unlock content and find out more information. What’s not to love about that! This app could be pretty cool!!
So What are the Risks?
As part of its augmented reality development blippar recognizes people as well as objects. So the fact that Blippar has started to use facial recognition tech to it’s app may for some be a little too much regarding invasion of privacy. It’s already up and running and we tested it. It’s got a long way to go and the reviews on iTunes would back this up. Blippar thought my wife was American Diplomat Roberta S Jacobson and it thought my Camelbak water bottle was a coffee machine!
Incredible technology for sure.
Blippar do have priority plans to allow (encourage) users to upload their own faces. A feature which could be a huge risk to privacy and safety. Complete strangers could take a picture of you or perhaps even take a picture from social media and based on how much information you put out there about yourself, they ‘know’ you, or perhaps even worse, they become you, identity theft is rife.
According to Omar Tayeb ‘It’s a totally opt-in service, the user has full control over what’s shown and they’re able to deactivate it at any time’. Whilst the apps’ augmented reality elements for objects and famous people are mind blowing facilities to have at your fingertips, we highly recommend you don’t upload your own face for the time being.