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Ethical De Factos

Researchers fool AI surveillance with an ugly tee

In a world where artificially intelligent surveillance systems can monitor all of us, it may be time to get ugly. Researchers at Northeastern University, MIT and IBM have designed an “ugly T-shirt,” printed with patches of color that render the wearer undetectable to AI-driven surveillance.

The T-shirt works on the neural networks used for object detection, which functions by recognizing you as an image, draws a "bounding box" around you, and assigns a label. Working with the boundary points of a neural network, which signal whether something is an object or not, the T-shirt sports a design that can confuse the AI network’s classification and labelling system. Because the system can’t ID you as an object, it won’t keep tabs on you.

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Sydney Kidd, Strategist, Human Centered Design, Idea Couture

Sydney Kidd

Strategist, Human Centered Design, Idea Couture