Face Scanning Vending Machine Fooled By Photos

from the like-we-couldn't-see-that-coming dept

Last year, we wrote about how cigarette vending machines in Japan were using facial recognition software to make sure the buyer was of an appropriate age. As we noted at the time, it seemed unlikely that such a system would work very well, and, indeed, The Raw Feed lets us know that it’s easily fooled by a magazine photo of an older person. Not too surprising, of course, but you would think that someone would have tested for such things before putting the machines into practice. Unless, of course, they really don’t care about the age of the buyers.

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Comments on “Face Scanning Vending Machine Fooled By Photos”

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Anonymous Coward says:

So, one thing I don’t quite get is why we have an age limit on smoking. Is it just because we know it’ll kill you? It’s OK for an adult to poison themselves, but we’ll arrest a kid (or fine the vendor) if he tries the same?

I don’t mean for that to be a stawman (but it is). I really don’t get what the basis for these rules are, though.

Anonymous Coward says:

The reasoning behind the rules, to the best of my knowledge, is that the chemicals in cigarettes do even worse things to an undeveloped body, similar to the way alcohol can damage the growing brain of a child. While an age limit is by nature controversial – there is no one rate at which people mature – the law is an attempt to minimize damage.

Loweded Wookie says:

Re: sorry

Can you please explain why it’s wrong?

I mean you say it is but you do not back it up therefore how can we trust what you say? For all we know you could be wrong.

Actually what #2 says makes a lot of sense so until you can prove otherwise instead of “You’re wrong” then I’m siding with something that at least makes a bit of sense.

ABC says:

Re: Re: sorry

Whether what #2 said is true or not, it’s likely not the reason for age limits. Most laws that discriminate between minors and adults do so for the following:

An adult is supposed to be in a position to make an informed decision, a child is not.

I’m not going to argue at what age that limit should be set, but it seems fairly reasonable to have some limit. Most adults know smoking is bad and will do serious harm to them and those around them. An 8 year old probably won’t know.

PS. As #2 is posting his theory, he should provide backup to prove it.

SomeoneElse (user link) says:

The REAL reason that Minors cannot smoke (or drink)

@ #1 and #2, the real reason (at least here in the states — not sure if it is the same in Japan, but I think so) has to do with the concept of consent. Basically a person under a certain age is not considered old enough to give their informed consent in certain matters (sex, alcohol, cigarettes). Which is silly because I know people in their 50’s that aren’t mature enough to consent to anything (in my opinion), and I know people in their early teens that are mature enough to make extremely difficult adult decisions carefully (probably do better than I do at 32)!

Nightmare says:

no depth of field perception?

You would figure the software would be designed to recognize that the image in front of the camera is a 2D one. I don’t see why it couldn’t detect unnatural reflections, inconsistencies in the depth of field in the image, and other things like that.

In Japan the legal age for smoking is apparently 20 by the way. As far as what I can tell about the law in the US, the age is 18 because that is legally considered an adult. Since cigarettes are bad for your health and can eventually lead to death, for a minor to smoke could be considered child endangerment. Going by that point, I still don’t understand why the minimum age for military enlistment is 17.
I just noticed that this was the first comment on the original story back in 2007:
“by Brian on Nov 6th, 2007 @ 2:57am

Anyone with a brain can just hold up a photo in front of the vending machine?”

Apparently people saw this coming as soon as it was announced.

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