I’ve never had an iPhone, but at one time, before it was stolen, I had an iPod Touch, and it allowed me to pretty much do anything I wanted except hold it up to my ear and talk into it (which was fine because it hasn’t yet been disproven that cellphone usage causes brain, mouth, or ear cancer.) So, I get it. I get the Apple obsession. I understand the shock and awe that comes with every unbelievable, but widely available application; the ones that make you go, “Why didn’t I think of that first?” *slap to the forehead*
Hey Steve Jobs, you’re telling me I can actually download a “Sex Position Of The Day” app? Have it at my dirty (not literally) little fingertips? Learn the “G-Spot Jiggy” on my way to work? Practice the “Rock-A-Bye Booty” before I call it a night? Genius! It just makes sense.
But this, this new application, not so much.
Swedish mobile software firm The Astonishing Tribe, who I’m begging stay far away from me and my American phone, is taking information overload to the next level. Popsci called this level “logical,” I call it “dumb” or just “really, really, scary.” And they’ve labeled it “augmented identity,” which is just a concise and severely veiled way of saying “Stalking Made Easy.”
Dubbed the – wait for it – Recognizr, the app essentially works like this: the user points the camera at a person across the room (like at a party, filled with strangers, who your mother always told you not to accept candy from. Or inappropriate advances. Whatever, at this point, they’re one and the same.)
The face recognition software creates a 3-D model of the person’s features and sends it across a server where it’s matched with an identity. A “cloud server” conducts the facial recognition and sends back the subject’s name.
Wait, what? Now, a guy who I’ve never met knows me by name – government, no alias. He can beckon me from across a room and, because of my terrible eyesight, I’ll oblige and won’t realize that I do not know this psycho until I’m about a foot away. And by that time, it’ll be too late; horror movies have proven this.
And not only does the Recognizr provide a name, but it sends the requester links to any social networking sites the person is a member of. So, I can get a friend request, hit, message, invite, phone call, thorough itinerary of how said stalker plans to hurt me, etc. on a daily basis? When did that become okay?
I get the obsession to be alert and aware, too; to connect and make contacts. Believe me, I do. I’ve rudely trackballed and text mid-conversation with important people many times. But, the Astonishing Tribe, with all it’s drive to be cutting edge and innovative, may be on the brink of a serious backlash.
(Current demo only runs on phones with at least a five-megapixel camera and the Android OS.)