AI Face Identification Puts Innocent Man In Jail

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Robert William, who was wrongfully identified by an AI algorithm and subsequently arrested, is suing the Detroit Police Department for the traumatizing experience he and his family had experienced.

Back in January of 2020, Robert Williams, a Black man, was arrested in front of his wife and children for a robbery committed at a Shinola store in 2018.

According to Newsweek, the store’s security cameras captured a suspect stealing watches who was not, in fact, Williams. Not only was he apprehended for the crime, but he was also not told what he was being arrested for until after his release 30 hours later.

“The day I was arrested, I had no idea it was facial recognition,” Williams told Newsweek. “I was arrested for no reason.”

Many experts fear that AI facial recognition will further exacerbate the same discriminatory and prejudicial practices that existed before the latest technological advancements, writes

In a study from Harvard University, Ph.D. candidate Alex Najibi argued that black people might be at risk of discrimination by face ID technology. “In 18th century New York, ‘lantern laws’ required enslaved people to carry lanterns after dark to be publicly visible,” Najibi wrote.

“Advocates fear that even if face recognition algorithms are made equitable, the technologies could be applied with the same spirit, disproportionately harming the Black community in line with existing racist patterns of law enforcement.” Najibi stated.