The future of privacy could look a lot like the early days of long curtains.
A new report from the non-profit Future Lab and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (EEST) shows how low-resolution photos could be used to provide a more detailed and personal portrait of an object.
The researchers suggest that this could be useful for those with chronic pain, and possibly in the development of new forms of surveillance.
“The long curtain of our time is a portrait of the self,” said EEST’s Andrew Smith.
“It’s a portrait that has been manipulated by people in the past to manipulate their self-image.”
In the case of long curtain photography, the photo is typically taken in a dark room.
To make it less of a blur and more of a picture, the photographer removes a piece of the curtain and places it on a computer.
“The image is then created with a high-resolution photo editor, and then a camera that captures the image,” Smith said.
The high-res photo, however, isn’t simply a photograph of the subject, but also an image of the entire object.
“We want to create the illusion of a large-scale portrait,” Smith explained.
“And the illusion is made possible by taking the entire image with high-quality photography, including the individual parts of the object.”
The researchers then compare the resulting image to an actual portrait of a person.
In the experiment, a human figure was selected from an existing photo.
The person was then asked to take a selfie, which is a popular form of photo.
Subjects were asked to identify the face of the person they were taking a selfie with, and to rate the emotional response of the face.
“When the subject took the selfie, we were able to identify them as the subject in the image, and they rated the emotional reactions of that person,” Smith told Next Big Futures.
The results were not as impressive as what Smith and his colleagues found in their study.
“Even with the image manipulation, we didn’t find that subjects rated the facial features of the subjects more highly than the facial images of the same subject from another image,” he said.
“This means that subjects did not perceive the facial parts of this person as having any emotional significance to them.
And even if they had done so, subjects were still unable to recognize the face.”
The study has implications for how privacy is perceived in the future.
Smith said the study has the potential to improve the privacy of subjects who use social media and other platforms to self-identify as members of a particular social group.
“In our study, we looked at the faces of participants in social media, and we found that when we removed their faces, we could not detect a change in their identity.
But when we replaced those faces with faces that matched the facial characteristics of their subjects, we found a noticeable change in how their identities were perceived,” Smith added.
The next step in this research, the researchers say, is to use this research to help identify people who use these types of platforms, and help them better understand their privacy concerns.
The EESL is a non-government research organisation focused on advancing knowledge in the emerging field of ethics and ethics technology.