(Roughly) Daily

Ye shall know them by…

A cautionary note, as one prepares for All Hallows Eve festivities…

Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink is an examination of the extraordinary capacity we humans have to perceive things– really complex and “human” things– in an instant, at first glance…  While machines even (indeed, often much) faster still at picking up some kinds of information, they’ve historically been limited to discrete data– specific data formatted in specific ways…  The kind of rapid perception of which Malcolm writes, perception of messy, human information (facial recognition and the like), has been slower to come.

Still, as we learn from leaks in the National Security edifice, it is arriving…  and now, it’s getting ready for the rest of us.  Denise Caruso writes about her friend Sally Rosenthal and her work as part of a Team at NYU– The Green Dot Project:

GreenDot is a research project that investigates motion capture, pattern recognition, and “Intrinsic Biometrics” techniques to detect human body language in video. The goal of the project is to train a computer to recognize a person based on his or her motions, and to identify the person’s emotional state, cultural background, and other attributes.

You can see and example of the Project’s work– a side-by-side analysis of Obama, McCain, and Bush– here.

As Denise writes,

Some private companies are building products with similar capabilities (face recognition in particular) and selling them to government agencies for obvious applications, but this is public stuff that I suspect will be very useful for us non-spooks who want/need to search video archives as well.

And so one notes that this may be the final Halloween during which one can get away, unidentified, with costumed mischief– one should enjoy it while one can!

(Thanks to MK for the prod to post)

As we rehearse our moves, we might recall that it was on this date in 1922 that Benito Mussolini became the youngest– age 39– Prime Minister of Italy.  (He didn’t begin to use the title “Il Duce” until 1925.)  Following a show of strength (“The March on Rome”) by Mussolini’s National Fascist Party, King Victor Emmanuel ousted the incumbent Luigi Facta and installed Mussolini…  who took it from there.  (From about 1911 until 1938, Mussolini carried on an intermittent affair with the Jewish author and academic Margherita Sarfatti, who was thus known at the time as the “Jewish Mother of Fascism.”)

The young Prime Minister

Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 31, 2008 at 1:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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