The great misunderstanding at the core of facial recognition -
Humans don’t fit neatly into boxes, period.

by Nina Dewi Toft Djanegara

'At the crux of this issue is the tenuous intersection between identity and appearance. For example, race is a social category that is linked, but not equivalent, to phenotype. Because race is not an objective or natural descriptor, it is impossible to definitively recognize someone’s race based on their image, and any attempts to do so can veer quickly into the realm of scientific racism.'


'Similarly, while the performance of gender often includes some kind of deliberate aesthetic self-presentation, it cannot be discerned by appearance alone. Visual cues can suggest membership within a social group, but they do not define it.'

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'Ultimately, any computer-vision project is based on the premise that a person’s outsides can tell us something definitive about their insides. These are systems based solely on appearance, rather than identity, solidarity, or belonging. And while facial recognition may seem futuristic, the technology is fundamentally backward-looking, since its functioning depends on images of past selves and outmoded ways of classifying people.'

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