Beating CCTV With Super-Realistic Masks (and consciousness is not computable)

Consciousness is noncomputable. Singularize that, Kurzweil.

We’ve heard about defeating face recognition with blinking lights, funny haircuts, and exotic makeup. But why not go one better…

…and just give yourself a new face?

A Swiss newspaper describes bank robbers in the US and Germany doing that. Courtesy super-realistic masks available from a number of sources (they mention a Louisiana-based company called CFX Composite Effects), the robbers simply turned their faces into a different one for the duration of the robbery. (They used a 630 USD mask called “Mac the Guy.” [1])

The victims didn’t realize they were looking at masked men, and running image recognition software against the videos produced baffling results. (There is prior art for this — the Chinese kid who attempted to fly to the US with a super-realistic old man mask, but forgot to get similar old-man gloves.)

At the same time the article highlights the incredible wealth of information modern human- and computer-based video-analysis techniques can produce. “Videos contain more evidence than any other source — more than DNA, more than crime scene investigations, more than witness statements,” said FBI video expert Grant Fredericks after the Boston bombings.

Nowdays Facebook’s face recognition is as good at recognizing people uploaded in photos as the human eye.

As for beating video, the article points out that if it becomes clear the person is using a mask, gait recognition is also an option for identifying people. Unless they put a marble in their shoe?


(German language, I’m sure you can work it out)

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