This Sweater Makes You Invisible

AI Cannot See You in This

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Man wearing colourful sweater is invisible to AI detection

“I don’t need to worry about AI tracking me because I’m never online.”

Ummmm… we’ve got bad news for you.

AI is making its way into the real world, and it’s tracking our everyday movements. We’ve written in the past about the very real implications of AI face detection, including how it can make big mistakes.

But AI isn’t just being used to spot criminals and theirs; it’s also being used to track our movements and purchases as customers.

The European Union seems to be onto something when it comes to protecting its citizens with its newest AI act. Almost every week now, we’re seeing incredible new use cases for the technology (some rather worrying).

Most recently, we came across a video illustrating how coffee shops could use AI to monitor and analyze the behaviors of their employees and customers.

It could track individual employees, keeping a log of how many coffees they have made, how many customers they’ve served, and how often they used their phones or went to the restrooms.

For customers, it could keep track of how long they spend inside the establishment and how much they order, and with that information, it could calculate their spending per minute.

The argument goes that this sort of AI analysis will lead to shorter wait times. We’re already seeing fast-food restaurants like Sweetgreen implement AI to help their staff more accurately predict which food needs to be prepped and when based on historical sales data.

As with many AI use cases, there’s a trade-off between privacy and the desired benefits. Do we really want to have our every moment tracked so we can get a coffee 1.289% faster?

Good news for those of you who are not interested in being physically tracked by AI. The University of Maryland just released videos of its new privacy sweater. They spent time researching and testing materials and prints to create the perfect sweater that makes you invisible to AI. While the AI they tested it on could track the male without the sweater, it got awfully confused once he pulled the sweater over his head.

The sweater’s print is essentially camouflage created with a combination of objects and shapes you might see in a public space. In the eyes of today's AI, this splits you up into smaller, harder-to-track objects.

So there you have it! Maybe an ugly sweater won’t be so much of a bad gift to get this Christmas.

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