Blurring And Pixelation Can No Longer Keep You Anonymous

Brilliance | Dec. 08, 2017

Welp, privacy is dead. At least in the way we've thought about protecting identities on TV for the past few decades. It's common to see a pixelated or blurred face, phone number, or license plate number on television as a way to protect the privacy of individuals. But now, an AI can recognize what lies behind this blurring and pixelation. And it's really pretty easy.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Cornell Tech trained a piece of software to see beyond content-making techniques and uncover what was meant to be hidden. According to the researchers, extensive methods for training this artificial intelligence was not even necessary. Once the researchers taught the computers a few relatively simple learning techniques, the AI was able to pretty easily blow past the protective blurring and pixelating. "The techniques we're using in this paper are very standard in image recognition, which is a disturbing thought," says Vitaly Shmatikov, one of the authors from Cornell Tech. Watch the videos below to learn more about this technology, and about the future of AI.

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