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What happens when good innovations do bad things? – The Washington Post

What happens when good innovations do bad things? – The Washington Post Don’t leave it all to regulators. The solution is public-private...

Don’t leave it all to regulators. The solution is public-private partnerships.

From the Article:

If you could point a simple product at a person and determine whether they were infected with Ebola, would you want it deployed in our airport screening areas and school entrances? Would you want to buy one for personal use, or should it be illegal — a violation of privacy? Should government step in and try to regulate this potentially life-saving device before its value is proven?

We are rapidly moving toward a day when products enabled by low-cost sensing devices, cheap computing capabilities, data mining and smart algorithms will be able to tell a person’s (either the user’s or a target’s) veracity, mood and health. Already Inuitive, an Israeli company, has developed a smartphone app for face and gesture recognition that can track and communicate subtle facial expressions. But if there is a public backlash — given today’s sensitivity to privacy concerns — the past should serve as precedent for the tech industry’s ability to self-regulate.

In the late 1990s, Sony faced public backlash over camcorders with the “NightShot” feature because the cameras could be used to see through people’s clothing. Sony fixed the issue and has since introduced models with similar, but revised infrared capabilities. And more recently, Google removed facial recognition technology from Google Glass in response to issues a few raised about privacy — unfortunate, because facial recognition software could help those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or brain injuries.

Despite privacy concerns, there will be a healthy market for these products. We are at the very tip of a much bigger transformation in society – one in which connected devices will be able to capture a multitude of personal data, continuously. Products such as wearable fitness monitors, Google Glass and the Apple Watch are just the pioneers. More are coming, and they will radically alter the way we work, live and communicate.

However, new technologies like these introduce more difficult, nuanced and novel issues. Should an employer be able to make a hiring decision based on captured data about how often a potential employee exercises?

Read the full article – What happens when good innovations do bad things?

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