Facial Recognition Consumerism – Fifth Element World

For those of you that remember anything other than Milla Jovovich’s all-but-naked body in 1997 Sci Fi thriller The Fifth Element, you might recall their pretty laughable portrayal of the twenty-third century future.


We’ll give them the flying cars – they’ve been a future-world movie staple since just about forever (just ask Michael J. Fox) – but  when you add singing aliens with blue-goo blood, characters named Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg and Chris Tucker in a leopard print onesie, you’re well into the Austin Powers brand of comedy.


They did, however, make one reference to the George Orwell / Aldous Huxley dystopian vision. Wherever he goes, Bruce Willis’s character Korben Dallas encounters billboards and television screens shouting his name and peddling their wares.

And, as laughable as The Fifth Element world might be, that particular element wasn’t so far-fetched. Facial recognition software has been around for a good while. We’ve had Facebook and the like targeting us with adverts that correspond to our web-searching habits. Now, we’re beginning to put those two ideas together.

Companies like Amscreen are offering to fit facial recognition cameras to billboards so that advertisers can monitor the demographics of the people viewing their ads. At the moment, these cameras will only be able to decipher broader details, such as your gender and rough age – they won’t be quoting your National Insurance number and reminding you of what you have for dinner last night – but it will only be a matter of time before advertisers can tailor their ads to suit who’s looking, with the potential for changing them in real time.

Forget multi-passes, the system will already know who you are…



Image: Shadowness

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