How often have you or your friends posed for an Instagram photo in public? Whether you’re on vacation or fooling around outside your favorite restaurant, we’re guessing the answer is most likely “a lot”. Well, if that’s the case, you might just end up as a subject in artist Dries Depoorter’s latest project, called “The Follower”.
The sinister-sounding creation was born after Depoorter noticed someone taking a lot of public Instagram shots:
“One day, I saw a person taking photos for like 20 minutes, and I was trying to find them on Instagram a day later without much success. That’s when I started building the software,” says Depoorter.
Thanks to the facial recognition software built by Depoorter, which crawls through footage from open webcams live streaming in public spaces, he quickly found a video of the Instagrammer in question when he posted shots onto the Meta-owned platform later that day.
The project is a fascinating (and terrifying) glimpse into how much information can be gathered using modern software — especially as the artist only had access to publicly available cameras. Depoorter’s work highlights the sheer scale of the world’s surveillance network and the enormous volumes of data we give away daily for AI bots to analyze.
Depoorter has a history of projects like “The Follower”. In 2021, he created a similar piece of software that scanned the live streams of Flemish government meetings, using AI to search for politicians scrolling through their smartphones out of apparent boredom. The project was known as “The Flemish Scrollers” and automatically tagged the targets via Twitter.
As Depoorter points out, he isn’t the only one with access to these cameras, and it’s genuinely scary to imagine the surveillance tools the world’s government agencies have at their disposal. Next time you take selfies in a public place, check over your shoulder — you might be being watched!
UAE Comes Out Strongly In Guinness World Records 2023
Guinness, the renowned cataloger of record-breaking events, has released its latest annual, after sifting through 40,000 applications — and the Arab world is heavily featured.
Guinness World Records, the authority on record-breaking global achievements, has just announced its latest release, “Guinness World Records 2023 (GWR2023),” which will be available online and in physical stores across the Arab region from today.
As usual, GWR 2023 features all of the latest achievements from around the world (and space!), with special features and updated graphics to bring the stories to life.
So why the interest in the latest Guinness installment? Well, it turns out the Arab Region is strongly represented in the book, with more than 50 records featured in the new edition, which is no mean feat considering the volume of competition.
“We’ve sifted through nearly 40,000 record applications over the past year to bring you Guinness World Records 2023. People from all walks of life continue to be fascinated by extremes, and we’ve received claims from across the planet – indeed, even from space! This is why I’ve said the new edition is out of this world,” says Craig Glenday, Guinness Editor in Chief.
Of interest to readers of this platform, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates both get to flex their record-breaking muscles.
Saudi Arabia claims the title of “Largest LED Structure and Suspended Ornament” courtesy of the Noor Riyadh Festival, as well as other weird and wonderful titles, including the “Largest Lego Formula 1 Car”, as well as perhaps more prestigious honors, such as “Largest Mirrored Building”, “Largest Clock Face”, “Tallest Lighthouse” and the “Largest Geodesic Dome”.
Not to be outdone, the UAE has claimed several humanitarian record-breaking titles, including the “Longest Video Livestream” (by The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and pan Arab influencer Hassan Suleiman), the “Largest Donation for Medical Treatment”, and the “Most Awareness Ribbons Made in One Hour”.
On the tech front, the UAE also claims several prestigious firsts, including “First 3D-Printed Laboratory”, while the world-renowned Burj Khalifa hangs on to its title of “World’s Tallest Building”.