Facebook is looking to add facial recognition to its long-awaited smart glasses that are planned to hit the market next year.
At an all-staff meeting, Facebook Reality Labs director Andrew Bosworth said the company was examining the privacy and legal ramifications of the technology, BuzzFeed reports.
He cautioned that the benefits and risks were obvious, “and we don’t know where to balance those things.”
Facial recognition would help a user recognize someone whose name they have forgotten, Bosworth theorized, or if they have facial blindness.
Scroll down to see the video
Facebook Reality Labs director Andrew Bosworth said the company was examining the privacy and legal ramifications of adding facial recognition technology to its upcoming smart glasses.
During the company-wide meeting, an unidentified employee asked Bosworth about privacy concerns raised by facial recognition, including stalkers.
‘[That] It could be the thorniest issue, ” Bosworth replied. “Where the benefits are so clear and the risks so clear, and we don’t know where to balance those things.”
Privacy has been a sore subject for Facebook, which is shelling out $ 650 million to settle a lawsuit alleging it violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act by using member data to tag people in photos.
“Facial recognition is a very controversial topic and for good reason,” Bosworth tweeted. “… I was talking about how we’re going to have a very public discussion about the pros and cons.”
Facebook’s Ray-Bans brand smart glasses are expected later this year. Bosworth said the company would need to have “a very public discussion about the pros and cons” of adding facial recognition tools to the device.
While Facebook’s smart glasses would be “fine” without the ability to identify faces, he added, there are some “good use cases,” like forgetting someone’s name at dinner.
He also referred to people with prosopagnosia or facial blindness, a neurological condition that makes it difficult to recognize familiar faces.
Facebook’s chief diversity officer, Maxine Williams, added that the company may need to develop its own privacy guidelines in areas where technology is not regulated by law, BuzzFeed reported.
Mark Zuckerberg revealed in September that Facebook was partnering with the Luxottica Group on a pair of smart Ray-Bans.
Beyond that though, the social media giant has been intentionally vague about its plans, even when wearables will be available.
In a January blog post, Bosworth teased that the devices “will arrive sooner rather than later.”
He told Bloomberg that smart glasses could improve a person’s life in ways that a smartphone cannot, such as capturing a moment with your children.
Mark Zuckerberg revealed in September that Facebook was partnering with the Luxottica Group on a pair of smart Ray-Bans. However, beyond that, the company has been intentionally vague about what it will offer.
By the time you turn on the phone, not only have you probably missed it, but if you don’t, you are probably watching the actual event, but through your phone, ” he said. “If you have the right technology, you can get out of the way.”
That suggests the glasses will include a camera or other way to capture and save moments.
They may not include augmented reality (AR) technology, which overlays digital objects in real word environments.
‘These are certainly connected glasses, they certainly provide a lot of functionality, [but] we’re being pretty evasive about precisely what functionality we’re providing, ”Bosworth said.
We’re excited about it, but we don’t want to overdo it. We don’t even call it augmented reality, we just call it ‘smart glasses’.
Another Facebook Reality Labs product, the Oculus Quest 2, just added a new feature: users can interact with the headphones by saying the phrase “Hey Facebook.”
‘This will be a gradual rollout,’ the company said in a blog post, ‘but you can find and enable the trigger word through our Experimental Features settings, and then say’ Hey Facebook, take a screenshot ‘, ‘Hey Facebook, show me I’m online,’ ‘Hey Facebook, open Supernatural’ or any of our other voice commands to get started. ‘
The wake-up word feature is optional and will not work when the microphone is off or when the headset is idle or off.
It began rolling out to the Quest 2 headphones on Thursday and will be added to the original Quest over time.