Ukrainian officials have run more than 8,600 facial recognition searches on dead or captured Russian soldiers in the 50 days since Moscow’s invasion began, using the scans to identify bodies and contact hundreds of their families in what may be one of the most gruesome applications of the technology to date.
The country’s IT Army, a volunteer force of hackers and activists that takes its direction from the Ukrainian government, says it has used those identifications to inform the families of the deaths of 582 Russians, including by sending them photos of the abandoned corpses.
The Ukrainians champion the use of face-scanning software from the U.S. tech firm Clearview AI as a brutal but effective way to stir up dissent inside Russia, discourage other fighters and hasten an end to a devastating war.
Here is the full story. Maybe this feels gruesome, but I am not sure we should let ourselves be led by the nose of our intuitions here. Furthermore, we have zero information on its effectiveness, or lack thereof. So I am not ready to have an opinion on this practice. We all seem fine with the idea of killing, so squeamishness on the “presentation side” probably is undertheorized.
I am more interested in what the next step looks like. If this stands a chance of being effective, how might you try to “improve” the presentation? Record death screams and send them in audio files? A virtual reality version? A “director’s cut” for the more committed audience members?
How about AI that scans the battlefield for fights your preferred side seems to be winning? Then do face scans of the opposing soldiers and using internet, text, or phone calls, invite their relatives to watch the struggle. Wouldn’t a fair number of family members click on that link?
Might some people crowdsource funding for extra footage, or shoot it themselves? I read this (New Yorker) report about the recent Brooklyn terror attack:
Many [bystanders] also responded as no one should ever do in an active-shooter scenario—when presented with an escape route, they instead stopped to record videos.
A yet more advanced version of the footage could throw in deep fakes of some kind? CGI?
Do you find this all more repulsive yet? Ever watched a war movie? We seem to accept those in full stride. It would be weird — but perhaps a coherent view nonetheless — to think “killing fine, phony movie of killing fine, movie of real killing just terrible.”
What do you all think?
For the initial pointer I thank Maxwell.