To Ban or Not to Ban FTR

Banning technologies containing artificial intelligence

In the last year (2019-2020)there has been a move towards banning facial recognition technology (FTR). This has been the case especially in regards to uses that happen in the public. Especially the last week where we have seen first IBM decide to pause their development and research of FTR for use in policing. Then Amazon.com followed suit announcing that their tool Rekognition would be have a one year break. The last of the large technology companies I have heard to announce the same measure is Microsoft.

There has been a push from rights organisations to pause the use of FTR in policing the last two years in particular with ACLU and the Algorithmic Justice League have been active in measuring the injustice and arguing vividly for why these large companies should care.

So, they have succeeded, although this work has come at great cost and their victory should in no way be taken for granted.

Still, having observed discussions in machine learning and artificial intelligence communities it seems highly unlikely that these developers of technology will stop what they are doing.

That gives rise to the question of FTR in policing on an overarching manner, especially if the solution is not mature enough. There is still too much discrimination that could be dangerous when these tools are put to use in the applied sense.

Since most of the large technology companies like IBM, Amazon and Microsoft have made a clear statement it seems likely that policy will follow or add to these processes of action on AI awareness. It may be necessary as smaller professional outfits such as Clearview AI is determined in their claim of accuracy and to some extent fairness.

To temporary ban may be a good idea to align the existing practices into a direction that is far more responsible related to policing. As such, a temporary ban on these type of technological applications in the police would make a lot of sense.

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 375. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days. Towards day 400 I am writing about artificial intelligence and racial inequality.

AI Policy and Ethics at www.nora.ai. Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own. twitter.com/AlexMoltzau