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Face-Recognition Billboard Displays Ads To Women, Not Men, For Plan UK Campaign In London (VIDEO, POLL)

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An interactive billboard at a London bus stop can scan your face and determine if you're a man or a woman by using facial recognition technology. The display then plays one of two messages based on that information.

Plan UK, a global children's charity, is using the billboard to raise awareness about the choices unavailable to women around the world in their "Because I'm a girl" campaign.

Women are shown a short video advertisement depicting girls who've been stripped of the privilege to make choices about their careers, educations or spouses.

Men, on the other hand, are only shown statistics regarding the issue. Naomi Williams, a Plan UK campaign manager, says the full advertisement is not available to men so they can get "a glimpse of what it's like to have [their] basic choices taken away."

The set-up cost nearly $47,000 and boasts a 90 percent accuracy rate in determining whether passersby are male or female, Time reports. The organization hopes to raise about $400,000 in donations with the two-week campaign.

A writer for The Independent describes how the billboard works:

The technology, the first of its kind, works by scanning faces before measuring the distance between the viewer's eyes, width of the nose, length of jaw line and shape of cheekbone to compare the data and estimate their gender.

Despite the display's margin of error, TechCrunch points out that the technology could eventually lead to ultra-targeted advertising:

What if you load up a hundred videos of people in different outfits, and then match that to whatever the person viewing the ad is wearing? "Nice red blazer. But we like this one better. Only $25 at H&M."

But facial recognition technology will soon be in use in some shopping malls across the country, CBS Boston reports. Displays will also be able to tell a customer's age and race and target advertisements based on that information.

One day, the displays will be able to track customers' spending habits, but for now, the technology is being tested in stores, banks, and even bars.

Places that serve alcohol could use the technology to determine how old a customers are before letting them into the establishment, WKMG reports. Bars in Orlando, Fla., and Miami could start using the technology as early as this year.

Plan UK has reportedly received complaints that its billboard is exclusionary. The organization has posted the following statement on their YouTube account:

It wasn't our aim to offend - we apologize that the advert did. We are simply showing what it feels like to have basic choices taken away - like millions of girls around the world. We don't favour girls over boys - for over 70 years we've worked with both sexes in the developing world and our experience - and the facts - show us that millions are still disadvantaged due to their gender. Our aim is equal opportunities and access to education for both sexes in the developing world.

Via Time News Feed

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