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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.



Sydney Kidd, Strategist, Human Centered Design, Idea Couture

Sydney Kidd

Strategist, Human Centered Design, Idea Couture