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Microsoft Sounds Alarm Over Facial Recognition

Microsoft president Brad Smith has once again called for new regulation to govern the facial recognition technology in order to avoid bias, discrimination and misuse.

He was speaking at an event in Washington DC on Thursday, and said that counties around the world are at a risk of a race to the bottom, as companies are forced to choose between being responsible to society or improving their market share.

In a speech at the Brookings Institution, Smith said:

“We believe it’s important for governments in 2019 to start adopting laws to regulate this technology. The facial recognition genie, so to speak, is just emerging from the bottle. Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues. By that time, these challenges will be much more difficult to bottle back up.


In particular, we don’t believe that the world will be best served by a commercial race to the bottom, with tech companies forced to choose between social responsibility and market success. We believe that the only way to protect against this race to the bottom is to build a floor of responsibility that supports healthy market competition. And a solid floor requires that we ensure that this technology, and the organizations that develop and use it, are governed by the rule of law.”

True words.

His call follows that of researchers from Microsoft and Google who called for the regulation of oppressive facial recognition technology in this new paper that was published Thursday by AI Group.

This is a group affiliated with New York University with members employees of technology firms including Google and Microsoft. It calls on governments to regulate the use of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technologies before they can undermine basic civil liberties.

Of course, Brad Smith is no stranger to this, and regularly speaks in favor of regulations.

This is a conversation worth having

And no better time to start than 2019.

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