One night last February, a 23-year-old Uber driver named Niradi Srikanth was preparing to start another shift, ferrying passengers in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. He pointed his phone at his face to take a selfie to verify his identity. This process usually works seamlessly. But this time he can’t log in.
Srikanth suspects this is because he recently shaved his head. After further login attempts were denied, Uber notified him that his account had been blocked. He is not alone. In a MIT Technology Review survey of 150 Uber drivers across the country, almost half were temporarily or permanently locked out of their accounts because of selfie issues.
Hundreds of thousands of gig economy workers in India are at the mercy of facial recognition technology with little legal, policy or regulatory protection. For employees like Srikanth, being blocked or kicked off the platform can have devastating consequences. read more.
I met a police drone in VR — and I hated it
Police departments around the world are embracing drones, deploying them in everything from surveillance and intelligence gathering to hunting down criminals. Yet none of them seem to be trying to find out how people feel when they encounter a drone — or whether the technology will help or hinder policing.
A team at University College London and the London School of Economics is filling in the gaps, looking at how people react when they encounter police drones in virtual reality, and whether they leave feeling more or less trusting in police officers.
MIT Technology Review’s Melissa Heikkilä was disturbed after encountering a VR police drone. If others feel the same way, the big question is whether these drones are effective policing tools in the first place. read more.
Melissa’s stories come from algorithms, and her weekly newsletter covers artificial intelligence and its impact on society. register Get it in your inbox every Monday.