back to article Brouhaha over IBM using Flickr faces for AI training, big trouble in not-so-little China for Microsoft, and more

Hello, here's a quick lowdown on what's been going on in AI beyond what we've already reported lately. Where did you get the data from? IBM was blasted this week for using millions of photos from Flickr, the popular image sharing website, to create a dataset aimed at making facial recognition systems less biased. These …

  1. Lusty Silver badge

    Ts & Cs

    Anyone posting photo's to Flickr loses their right to be outraged. I've gone to sign up several times since it launched, and every time I read the Ts & Cs I changed my mind and told all my friends to avoid them like the plague. Partly because they explicitly state they can and will do things like this...

    The real question here is - can the people in the photos take action against the muppets who uploaded their image to a site which had that in the Ts & Cs?

    1. Mr F&*king Grumpy

      Re: Ts & Cs

      Next time you read the T&Cs, Mr Lusty, (since you appear to enjoy it so much), try using your reading glasses. Creative Commons is optional and Flickr pastes huge warning notices all over it. Personally I cannot see any reason to specify a CC license unless you want to ingratiate yourself to the freetards. It used to be very cool to do so back in the Web 2.0 days. Oh, and note that the CEO of Creative Commons himself has stated that IBM did absolutely nothing wrong. I'm sure the Regtards also are fully aware that the term "scraping" in this context is just plain wrong, but since when did the Register let truth get in the way of a good troll ? Pah!

      1. Lusty Silver badge

        Re: Ts & Cs

        That must have changed since I last read it then, which has been a couple of years at least. I don't keep going back to such places on the off chance they've discovered privacy!

        How do they handle the PetaBytes of data uploaded prior to these changes? Do those users get their rights back, or are all those pics still open to abuse? Under the old terms Flickr were free to keep your pictures after you deleted them and carry on selling them to whoever they wished. And they did. There are many reported cases of people seeing pics of themselves on billboards etc. as well as this latest issue in the article.

        No, I don't care that they changed the terms, this company has a track record that says all I need to know about their intentions.

    2. Saruman the White

      Re: Ts & Cs

      I would have thought that a simpler solution (at least for those to the right of The Pond) is to invoke GDPR to have the photos removed from the dataset. After all there can be few things more personal that a photo of your face!

      1. Lusty Silver badge

        Re: Ts & Cs

        How would you know there's a picture of you in the service in the first place? It's not like they can search for your name, and your picture could be in hundreds of accounts without your knowledge!

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Ts & Cs

        Yes, you just need working face recognition to accomplish that...

        (joke, but not so much...)

  2. LDS Silver badge

    The dataset may not be sold commercially, but if the application built on it is?

    It looks to me IBM is trying to play dirty - it's still using the dataset to develop commercial applications - probably the CC license can be bypassed this way, but it's still not much different from Cambridge Analytica use of people data collected by Facebook.

    People willingly to weaken copyright are still sure it's a good idea?

  3. Wellyboot Silver badge


    >>>Do you managers still want to use anyway? (Probably, yes)<<< - FTFY

    Where to use AI? It's ability to remove any personal bias from decision making based on an incomplete dataset makes it ideal for replacement of upper managment - no more 'Vison vanity' or 'Must be seen to do something' projects. AI can just as easily buy out a startup with a good idea if it spots one.

    I still think real AI doesn't exist yet, but machine learning is improving in line with the size of datasets they depend on and Clarkes 1st law applies to most management when shown 'puter stuff'.

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: AI

      I've experience since the mid-'70's and the experiences of too many others that I talk with and it's near universal that, despite investing stupidly large amounts of cash, manglement will ignore what the 'puter says and "go with their gut."

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: AI

        Yes, the problem with developing general purpose AI is that there is not the slightest evidence that we have a working example of general intelligence to use as a baseline.

  4. I.Geller Bronze badge

    We will finally get our privacy back!

    AI understands images if they are annotated by textual descriptions (labeled). Such the text becomes a part of a personal profile that contains other texts, which explain this. Now, imagine that you have to annotate billions of images per day? How much will that cost? To IBM? Imagined? Obviously, the pictures will end annotating locally, on user devices (much more annotations!) where personal profiles-images will be stored, which means that we will finally get our privacy back.

  5. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Gee, that's so nice of them

    So, do people ever wonder why for-profit companies would spend massive amounts of money on buildings, servers, bandwidth, electricity, staff, etc. to provide them with "free" cloud photo storage?

    I'm guessing not.

    1. I.Geller Bronze badge

      Re: Gee, that's so nice of them

      Very soon this bacchanalia (with espionage) will be over. For example, OpenAI and Amazon can already annotate user patterns without Internet, without spying and in our computers. Really, why are Google and FB spying? In order to get annotations on patterns (which explain) and sell them.

      AI does this much better off-line - see OpenAI and Amazon.

      For example, computer understands images only if they are annotated by texts, these texts should be annotated as well and the resulting patterns sold. The best source of annotations is our computers and companies like OpenAI and Amazon may agree to provide privacy.

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