Computers that watch, and the ever-watchful God

The next big wave of computer technology is now arriving. It involves harnessing a computer to a camera that not only sees but reasons about what it sees. What it’s most interested in seeing, and in “reading,” is human behavior. This technology might, for instance, read a person’s reaction to a product by closely scrutinizing his or her facial muscles. It might then compare that response to the responses of others (see “Computers That See You and Keep Watch Over You,” The New York Times, January 1, 2011).

These devices appear to have a future in retail marketing, law enforcement, national security, and much more. The most personal applications may be in health care. Vision computers could monitor a patient at a digital glance, assessing vital signs and reading the heart rate in the individual’s face. This service inevitably comes with privacy concerns, as ever larger amounts of the most personal data stream into cyberspace. 

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In the Christian Science Bible Lesson
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March 21, 2011
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