Sharing Photos Online? Companies are Tracking What you Wear and How you Feel

The same utopian principle of the Internet, it allows people to communicate freely around the globe, makes it an appealing target not just for government surveillance and but also for corporate surveillance in the form of brand insights mining.
In all of that free and open communication, corporations want to know what’s being said about their brands.
And a picture is worth a thousand words. Images continue to pose a greater challenge to the artificial intelligence systems than text, but with more than half a billion images shared online every day, corporations really want to know what users are conveying about their brands.
Ditto Labs, a Boston-based social analytics company, is using emerging computer vision technologies to give them answers. It uses computer vision to identify logos in the photos shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumbler. The system also recognizes some telltale patterns, such as a Burberry plaid.
If a product is anything more than an unwitting backdrop for the photo, the service then uses emotion recognition algorithms to report what the people in the photograph are most likely feeling.
Emotion recognition is an emerging area of artificial intelligence. Some of the basic techniques emerged from research designed to teach children with autism to recognize others’ feelings. Several companies now offer the service as an SDK for other companies to build into their apps and services.