Robot Vision: I can see your heart beating

We aren’t quite in Clarke and Kubrick’s 2001 world yet, with vision systems for computers that can read lips; however consumer technology is continuing its significant forward progress. Devin Coldewey reports for NBC News Technology about Microsoft’s new Kinect, which builds more accurate models of humans in the room, hears more individualized voices even in noisy circumstances, and measures peoples’ heart rates by optically measuring the frequencies at which human faces flush thanks to the racing blood.  Today, the control and feedback loop for Kinect is all about customized video game playing; in Mediocracy I explain how improving computer vision will mean the corporations can gather valuable, actionable data on how we respond to advertisements and programming. Kinect is a solid demonstration of where perception technology is heading.  Computers will see more deeply into our lives, personal and public, with the passage of time; the challenge is to imagine all the ways that this provides corporations and governments with an edge over the individual.

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