AR Experience: Stealing Ur Feelings
Introducing ‘Stealing Ur Feelings,’ an Interactive Documentary About Big Tech, AI, and You.
Stealing Ur Feelings is an AR experience about the power of facial emotion recognition AI that exploits your reaction to its own content in horrifying ways.
An augmented reality film revealing how the most popular apps can use facial emotion recognition technology to make decisions about your life, promote inequalities, and even destabilize democracy. Using the same AI technology described in corporate patents, “Stealing Ur Feelings,” by Noah Levenson, learns the viewers’ deepest secrets just by analyzing their faces as they watch the film in real-time.
The six-minute documentary explains the science of facial emotion recognition technology and demystifies how the software picks out features like your eyes and mouth to understand if you’re happy, sad, angry, or disgusted. While it is not confirmed whether big tech companies have started using this AI, “Stealing Ur Feelings” explores its potential applications, including a Snapchat patent titled “Determining a mood for a group.” The diagrams from the patent show Snapchat using smartphone cameras to analyze and rate users’ expressions and emotions at concerts, debates, and even a parade.
The documentary was made possible through a $50,000 Creative Media Award from Mozilla. The Creative Media Awards reflect Mozilla’s commitment to partner with artists to engage the public in exploring and understanding complex technical issues, such as the potential pitfalls of AI in dating apps and the hiring process.
“Stealing Ur Feelings” is debuting online alongside a petition from Mozilla to Snapchat. Viewers are asked to smile at the camera at the end of the film if they would like to sign a petition demanding Snapchat to publicly disclose whether or not it is already using facial emotion recognition technology in its app. Once the camera detects a smile, the viewer is taken to a Mozilla petition, which they can read and sign.
The documentary also generates a downloadable scorecard featuring a photo of the viewer with Snapchat-like filters and lenses. The unique image reveals some tongue-in-cheek assumptions that the AI makes about the viewer while watching the film. These include the viewer’s IQ, annual income, and how much they like pizza and Kanye West.