Our Frightening Future, Brought to You by Microsoft
By Alex Planes
January 18, 2012
Hey, look! Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) found a way to squeeze more functionality from the motion-sensing Kinect. Since many news-driven writers (including yours truly) are rushed and lazy, we often repeat pop culture references: You can open your files in Windows 8 by pointing at them aggressively, just like Tom Cruise in Minority Report!
But get this: Microsoft isn’t only jumping on board the Tom Cruise future-semaphore bandwagon. One new Kinect application is a creepy foot forward into the film’s more troubling technological advancements — specifically, its omnipresent and ominously precise biometric sensors. It might be good for the company’s bottom line, but quite threatening to the average person’s privacy.
A great algorithmic leap forward
The Kinect needed a certain level of hardware precision to work — but its software was the real breakthrough. That bleeding-edge programming package is so detailed that the Kinect’s next iteration is rumored to read lips and detect emotional cues when paired with more accurate sensors that track nuanced facial movements. The device is already accurate enough for Microsoft to use it to create a mall advertising system that that changes content based on who it thinks you are.