MegaPixels: Faces


MegaPixels is an ongoing project about machine learning image datasets. The installation used facial recognition to search for your identity in the largest publicly available facial recognition training dataset in the world, called MegaFace (V2). Out of approximately 15,000 users, two people reported finding a positive match in the training database which they never knew existed.

MegaPixels thermal printout from Glass Room installation

What many people aren't aware of is that you might be included in this facial recognition training dataset because it was created entirely from Flickr. The dataset contains approximately 672,000 identities and 4.2 million photos, all obtained from Flickr without anyone consenting.

These 4.2 million images are currently being passed between researchers in the US, China, Russia, and all over the world to train and evaluate state-of-the-art facial recognition algorithms. If you knew that your image, your friend's image, or your child's image was being used for developing products in the defense industry, would you object? How would you even find out if your photo was included?

MegaPixels is an ongoing project to bring these datasets into the public view , provide new tools to explore their contents, and surface the ethical implications of datasets.

How it Works

Walk up to the MegaPixels kiosk and in a few seconds you’ll be compared to ~672,00 identities from the MegaFace dataset. The best matches will be displayed on the screen with their match confidence scores. When a similar face is found, a button illuminates and you can print out a summary of your match score along with information about the database.

MegaPixels demonstration. Image acquired and published with participant's consent.