From deep in the works of Google, developers have deployed an AI that’s sole purpose in life is to know when someone is reading over your shoulder.
For a company that receives over 100 billion search queries every month, Google has access to an unfathomably large pool of data from all types of individuals. Since roughly 82.6% of internet users use search engines, there is a wide-reaching and diverse range of demographics that can be studied in depth. It makes sense, then, that Google would lead the charge for Artificial Intelligence technologies.
The technology in question today involves the use of your front facing camera recording you background, scanning for signs of someone looking at your phone from over your shoulder. The ‘electronic screen protector’ runs in the background while you use your phone normally, but will interrupt you if someone is caught looking. The camera app will pop up, and the perpetrators face will be framed.
Hee Jung Ryu and Florian Schroff, developers on this facial recognition software, claim it can accurately confirm a snoop in two milliseconds. Quite a feat if true, and there’s little reason to doubt that it is, but what implications might this have on our privacy?
Back in the days before Google glass was all but scrapped, a plan to integrate pay-per-gaze technology was hatched. Basically, people would wear Google glasses around and at times, whether in person or online, they would glance at advertisements. The idea was that the advertiser would like to know what elicited the most elongated gaze, how many people had looked at the ad, and all data of this sort.
With front-facing cameras on most devices these days, there is an ever-mounting concern about how they’re being used, and if they are trustworthy. Luckily, privacy protocols allow you to disable access to your camera or your microphone entirely.
This is not infallible, though, and in the wake of the Facebook controversy over microphones being used through their mobile app to send you targeted ads, it might be hard for some to trust similar passive video recording software.
Google’s newest AI monitoring and augmented sensory program might leave some individuals with the sensation that someone is looking over their shoulder, but in reality, the spy is staring them right in the face.