Ever wondered what you look like to a face-recognition algorithm? Spoiler alert: incredibly creepy.
Article by Kyle Chayka for Medium
Sterling Crispin’s “Data Masks” are haunting portraits that don’t actually depict any one person. Instead, they use raw data to show how technology perceives humanity. Reverse-engineered from surveillance face-recognition algorithms and then fed through Facebook’s face-detection software, the Data Masks “confront viewers with the realization that they’re being seen and watched basically all the time,” Crispin says.
“Facebook actually makes masks out of everyone’s faces,” the artist explains. The social network analyzes every face that appears in photos on its servers and renders them into three-dimensional models. “It’s happening whether you get tagged in the photo or not,” Crispin says.
Crispin gathers face patterns from data sets sets like Labeled Faces in the Wild
, then “evolves” a two-dimensional image from the composite, finally rendering it in 3-D — much like Facebook. He stops the iterative process before the algorithm has created a perfect face, resulting in the strange mutations of his images. The image, he says, might have “somebody’s eyebrow, somebody else’s chin.”