If the hugely successful launch of Facebook's Oculus Quest 2 is anything to go by, its upcoming AR glasses shouldn't be overlooked. Who knows, it may hit mainstream just as well as the Quest 2 did, it just needs to work out a few certain intrusive privacy kinks.
Facebook is looking into facial recognition support for its upcoming AR smart glasses, but its already having to deal with the legal and privacy issues that comes with it. Vice president of Facebook Reality Labs, Andrew Bosworth, may even reconsider using the tech if the cons far outweigh the pros.
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We’ve been open about our efforts to build AR glasses and are still in the early stages. Face recognition is a hugely controversial topic and for good reason and I was speaking about was how we are going to have to have a very public discussion about the pros and cons. (1/2) https://t.co/PFNSoBpcniFebruary 25, 2021
With facial recognition support, Facebook's AR glasses could recognize people's faces and display information on the lenses' screen, all just by looking at them. It seems like a wicked gadget spies like 007 would use, but its a different, creepy story when made for public use.
It wouldn't be a long shot for Facebook to pull off, either, seeing as its deep learning facial recognition system DeepFace can already register faces in photos and recommend tags. However, facial recognition in AR glasses isn't anything new, as Google tried it itself with the Google Glass, and then proceeded to ban the development of the tech in 2013.
In a company-wide meeting, Bosworth stated, "Face recognition...might be the thorniest issue, where the benefits are so clear, and the risks are so clear, and we don’t know where to balance those things," as reported by Buzzfeed News.
Clearly, as Bosworth suggests, the Facebook AR glasses would be fine without facial recognition support, but the team will still look into "some nice use cases" to make it worth it. That said, we don't think Facebook would want another privacy issue on their hands.
The Facebook AR glasses are expected to roll out sometime in 2021, but they'll be facing competition with the Apple Glass, too, which could drop sometime between now and 2023.
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Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.