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Where’s Ms. Waldo?

[ by Charles Cameron — on two technologies for human dot-connection ]

How long would it take you to find this particular woman:

in this crowd, if you already had another photo of her?

Click here and give it a try.

Next question: how long would it take the best pattern recognition software in the world?

For bonus points: how many cameras like this are there in the world, who has access to that kind of software, what countries are cameras and software in, what kinds of agencies use them, under whose supervision, how easily hacked — and how many such photos will have been taken, grand total, by the end of 2013?

I don’t have even a hazy idea of the answers. I don’t even know where in the photo the woman in the headband can be found. I imagine there are export controls on both cameras and software, I suspect they can be circumvented…


As I noted in a comment here three weeks ago:

Green party politician Malte Spitz sued to have German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom hand over six months of his phone data that he then made available to ZEIT ONLINE. We combined this geolocation data with information relating to his life as a politician, such as Twitter feeds, blog entries and websites, all of which is all freely available on the internet.
By pushing the play button, you will set off on a trip through Malte Spitz’s life. The speed controller allows you to adjust how fast you travel, the pause button will let you stop at interesting points. In addition, a calendar at the bottom shows when he was in a particular location and can be used to jump to a specific time period. Each column corresponds to one day.

You can give that one a whirl, too: feel free to zoom in and out.


Happy trails!

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