Anyone who likes to live on social media, has likely seen images from ten (or more) years ago, and then a recent picture side by side. This is referred to as the 10 year challenge. It is meant to show the difference in your life from ten years ago until today. It is seemingly harmless, but is there a deeper meaning? There is no way to know for sure, but there is a lot of speculation as to whether there could be…
How Can Comparing Images Not Be Harmless?
If you were to look at yourself from ten years ago and then look at yourself today, you would likely see a few differences. You probably are a different weight, maybe have a couple more wrinkles, and the shape of your face will have changed just slightly. Your friends may make comments about the good-ol’-days, and you may reminisce about days gone by. If that was all the 10-year challenge was about, it would likely be no big deal. However, there may be something slightly more sinister behind the challenge – or at least, that is the running theory.
When you post these pictures online, they become data. This means that crawlers looking for information online can then look at the metrics of your images, including the differences in your face over that period of time. While this information may seem harmless to most, it is actually a teaching mechanism for AIs that use the internet to learn. Just imagine this possibility…
If you were a data analyst who studied age progression, what better way to study it, would there be, than to start a fun, seemingly harmless challenge on the internet? If people simply thought that comparing two pictures of around ten years apart was a fun game, they would not hesitate to share. That would give the theoretical you and your theoretical program, the perfect data set to look at.
While many believe that there is no legitimacy behind the idea that this information was more than a game, there is some amount of plausibility in the concept. Even if all that data was there before the meme came out, this made it far easier for AIs to find. Instead of having to search or sort through profile pictures of the past, the pictures were there, side-by-side, for all to see. Your program would have access to photographs, the years the pictures were taken to see how your face aged, and likely more data about where the picture was taken.
Just Think Before Putting Free Data Online
The 10-year challenge may be nothing more than a fun challenge that lets you see how much different life is now compared to back then. However, you may never know for sure. If you want to participate in memes like this, go for it. Just make sure you consider what it could be and be careful about what you choose to share. You may be sharing more than you realize! Many social media accounts, like Facebook, allow you to turn off the different forms of facial recognition whenever you want. If you want to join into these types of memes, you may want to make sure to do that before you post.
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