IBM to stop making facial-recognition tech, wants AI regulated

facial recognition
(Image credit: metamorworks/Shutterstock)

Computing giant IBM intends to pull out of the general-purpose facial-recognition market due to concerns that such technology and its analysis software can lead to racial profiling and discrimination. 

The company revealed the move in an open letter to Congress, in which IBM CEO Arvind Krishna wrote: “IBM no longer offers general purpose IBM facial recognition or analysis software. 

"IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and Principles of Trust and Transparency.

"Now is the time to begin a national dialogue on whether and how facial recognition technology should be employed by domestic law enforcement agencies.”

Abusing the technology

Krishna also called for greater scrutiny of artificial-intelligence technology, admitting that while AI has useful applications in law enforcement, vendors and users of this technology must ensure it’s not abused. 

He said: “Artificial Intelligence is a powerful tool that can help law enforcement keep citizens safe.

“But vendors and users of Al systems have a shared responsibility to ensure that Al is tested for bias, particularity when used in law enforcement, and that such bias testing is audited and reported.”

Krishna wants to see technology used for improving transparency and accountability in law enforcement. 

He added: “Finally, national policy also should encourage and advance uses of technology that bring greater transparency and accountability to policing, such as body cameras and modern data analytics techniques.”

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Nicholas Fearn is a freelance technology journalist and copywriter from the Welsh valleys. His work has appeared in publications such as the FT, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, The Next Web, T3, Android Central, Computer Weekly, and many others. He also happens to be a diehard Mariah Carey fan!