In our modern societies, it’s a popular idea to upload one’s private photographs on social networks. I guess that it’s difficult to find a personality that has never taken a selfie or has never shared any details of their private life on a social network. Furthermore, those who prefer to stay away from this selfie craze may even be considered some sort of weirdos. It’s not “normal” nowadays to keep your life for yourself – you are supposed to upload your experiences to the imaginary world of digital “friends.”
These aspects of present-day society inspired Russian photography and art student Egor Tsvetkov to manage a thought-provoking social experiment named “Your face is big data.”
For the goal of the research, he took photographs of 100 random people on the Moscow sub. Egor states that the majority of them didn’t even realize that he was taking photos of them. Most of them were staring at their smartphone screens and didn’t give any attention to what was happening around. Among other things, this kind of response sparked his attention.
Nevertheless, the best part came when Egor ran the photographs through a facial recognition app called “FindFace” that he designed himself. The intention was to test whether the app could use pictures to successfully recognize random people on the social network “Vkontakte” (“InTouch”), that, in fact, is more widespread in Russia than Facebook.
As a conclusion, Egor found out that the app was working almost flawlessly and accomplished to recognize 70% of the photographed people on the social network!
Below, you can see the results for yourself:
As you can observe in the pictures earlier, people look remarkably different in the photos Egor took and those shared online. It makes sense why – people ordinarily upload photographs that show themselves in the best light. No one wants to look ugly or miserable in a photo available online. New apps further support this and can fix even the worst photos to make the person seem more beautiful than they truly are. After all, most people don’t want to show their true self on social media – they seek to present a “perfect” picture of themselves.
This social experiment is an additional warning that there is no such thing as privacy in the modern world. As for the outcomes of this, you can guess what could potentially happen in the future, with the further advancement of technology. Recognizing someone by a photograph is no longer a privilege of secret services and police. Any person with fundamental computer skills can research on the web and find out tons of data about someone else (which they willingly shared online).
“My project is a clear illustration of the future that awaits us if we continue to discover ourselves on the Internet to the extent that we do today,” Egor stated.
Therefore, next time you want to upload a selfie or share something personal on Facebook, remember this social experiment and think twice 😉