Influencers may crave attention through “profession,” but a new AI experiment shows they can’t always control the gaze of their admirers.
The project, called “The Follower”, follows Instagrammers in the wild. In the process, it offers a glimpse of the terrifying possibilities of automated surveillance.
The experiment is the brainchild of Dries Depoorter, a Belgian artist who previously caught our attention by keeping an eye on politicians with telephones at work.
For his latest demonstration of the dangers of technology, Depoorter analyzed feeds from open cameras, which provide easy access to images of public places (and sometimes private).
Depoorter first recorded weeks of footage captured on Insta-friendly landmarks. He then scraped Instagram for photos tagged with the camera locations. His software then compared the Instagram images with the recorded images.
According to Depoorter, his system chose influencers with more than 100,000 followers. They were then linked to the movie from their Instagram photos that were taken.
He shared some examples – where else? — Instagram.
Initially, The Follower only seems to make fun of the grind behind Instagram posts with photos. But Depoorter’s track record shows that he is aiming for a more dangerous target.
As privacy activists have noticedits monitoring system is benign compared to what companies already sell to governments.
While the attention-seeking influencers may garner little sympathy, anyone can step into the crosshairs of AI surveillance.