When I say “they”, I mean nobody.
A few days ago, I dropped by the local H Mart and found myself staring at a familiar face. Mine. Displayed on a large screen TV at the entrance of the store along with others who had entered before me. Next to my masked face was posted my body temperature, a cool 36.3 C.
I don’t know how to feel about this. Sure, I’ve seen this type of mass measurement done before — on arrival at airports- but I’m not sure how I feel in the retail space. I realize that this is a naive thought and it’s likely that my face has been used for all sorts of analysis — gender, age, sentiment, and all sorts of derivative analysis like threat level or suspicious activity.
H Mart was at least honest in showing me part of what they see and to also promote that they’re doing something to check customers for fevers to protect other shoppers. However, it’s not clear what is the workflow built around their system. It could be that an email or SMS gets sent to a store when someone walks in with a fever. Or maybe the TV makes some type of announcement? It’s not clear.
We worry about surveillance, especially mass surveillance. And we should, especially when bad actors can use this data to curtail freedoms. Many times AI can scale analysis and it’s more like that AI will be the one viewing the video and not some person.