Friday, May 4, 2012

Biometrics and Movies

Since movies have played an important part in the popularculture for about 100 years, and they have served as premonitory tools forupcoming technologies, we couldn’t live aside this topic when discussingbiometrics. 

It is quite easy to find examples of movies that appeal tothis technology.   In action films, wefind innumerous scenes where the main character has to break in a highsurveillance facility where access is given only  through voice recognition, iris scanning,fingerprint match etc.  A good way toillustrate how films recreate the difficulties and creativity required to tricksystems that use these technologies is this short episode from the last versionof Charlie’s Angels.

There is no doubt that biometrics is perceived as one of themost secure ways of controlling access.  InMission Impossible III, when Agent Ethan Hung is assigned to a new mission, hisidentity is first validated with an eye scanner installed in a pair of sunglasses. 

However there is one movie in particular that recreates howbiometrics technology can be used for other purposes beyond security.  In Minority Report, Speilberg conceived aworld where personalized advertising is possible using this technology.   Your tastes and consumer behaviours, based onyour historical buying patterns can be saved as data and later processed tohelp companies identify you as consumer target.   In the movie there is a scene where JohnAnderton (Tom Cruise) walks into a mall, where he is recognized through irisscan by animated billboards encouraging him to buy some products.  Follow this link to watch the scene in themall. 

When we watch these futuristic movies, we cannot helpraising the same question from the previous post, are humans willing to give upon privacy for the sake of comfort and technology advances? Or is it no longer achoice, as  "the rightof privacy is a diminishing commodity" which will soon be thrown"right out the window”

 Ian Rothkerch. "Will the future really look like "Minority

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