How would the public and regulators react if Facebook’s first smart glasses were able to identify people? Undoubtedly, the simple suggestion of such a function would be worth some remonstrances to the firm.
We know from the Connect event in September 2020 : Facebook will market in 2021 a pair of smart connected glasses.
The result of a partnership with the Italian eyewear giant Luxottica , undoubtedly exploiting the essential Ray-Ban brand, these eyewear have been developed for several years already within the Facebook Reality Labs, which now bring together all the related in-house engineering poles. to virtual and augmented realities, including Oculus.
Looking more like Snapchat Shows or Bose Frames than the Google Glass of the first hour, very little is known about this product, except that it will not integrate a screen properly speak.
We therefore know that it will not be a stupid head-up display device, Mark Zuckerberg not wishing to offer “an Apple Watch to stick on his face” , but a product which is an extension of the smartphone with a social approach.
Interesting usage scenarios
This is where the recent statements come in from Andrew Bosworth, boss of Reality Labs, who participated in a question and answer session on Instagram.
He mentioned a development that was following its course “without particular difficulties” and briefly presented one of the features that could integrate these glasses: facial recognition.
He spoke of a product that would be “satisfactory” without this facial recognition, but admitted that there were “very nice use cases” there . On Twitter , Andrew Bosworth clarified the company’s position: “Facial recognition is a very controversial topic, for good reasons. I think we need to organize a public discussion around the pros and cons ” . The official also added that the feature, currently under consideration, will only be implemented if the public and regulators are comfortable with it.
In the light of the mistrust that Facebook has faced since the Cambridge Analytica case on personal data, the very critical reception of the deployment of video surveillance systems capable of using facial recognition, the outcry that followed the discovery of how Clearview AI works and the numerous investigations launched by regulators against Gafam recently, it is an understatement to say that Facebook is advancing in minefield.
In search of miniaturization
It will be a flawed first draft anyway, with Mark Zuckerberg saying late last year: “I don’t think augmented reality will be good until you have sunglasses on. normal looking capable of projecting holograms […] I don’t think we are ready to put all the electronic components that we would need in a very thin frame. But the hope is to achieve almost normal glasses that can do so by around 2025. ”