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UK ad uses facial recognition, scans for gender

Ad for non-profit Plan UK plays different messages for men and women

Technology trends and news by Nathan Pensky
February 24, 2012 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/248e

We've heard of smart phones and smart televisions, but next up might be smart advertisements. One UK ad has employed facial recognition technology to deploy different messages based on whether the person standing in front of it is a man or a woman.

The ad is for Plan UK, a non-profit organization that helps children in developing countries. Specifically, the ad is touting their "Because I'm a Girl" campaign, which is geared toward sponsoring the education of girls, hence the gender-specific message.

Based on the demo video, for men the advertisement, which appears to be attached to an outdoor street post, plays only a short message giving statistics about female education. For women, however, the ad plays a longer video geared specifically for them, showing the oppressive limits put on women in some countries.

While this is an interesting use of facial recognition tech (and certainly a good cause), personally, I wonder a little about the way this particular ad reinforces gender-normative physical traits. How would the ad work for a woman who didn't have typically "feminine" looks, or a man with "masculine" ones?

But while this ad is maybe a little questionable in its execution, it's nowhere near as bad as another promotional device using facial recognition tech.

A Kraft vending machine which dispenses samples of Temptations pudding. This product is touted as geared only for adults, supposedly because it's so rich and decadent. And so the vending machine scans the person standing in front of it, scanning for their age, and if the person is found to be under a certain age, the machine won't dispense the pudding.

That's right... a machine that specifically withholds pudding from children. Now that's just cruel!

[Image Credit: Engadget]


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