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Mugshots are part of a common testing and verification step for new face recognition algorithms. In the United States, there is a kind of feedback loop from mugshots, to research, to surveillance products, and then these surveillance products are sold to police and used to aid in arrests supporting mass incarceration. By interrupting part of this process, I see Paolo critiquing the entire loop.
In the end there is no substitute for someone telling you who they are. And no machine learning system can predict something that can only be intentionally communicated.
Replicating research gives me insight that I can’t get from using a toolkit, reading a paper, or studying historical precedents and theory. It helps put me in the mindset of a researcher. I have to solve some of the same problems, sit with an assumption of the validity of the categories and data in question for an extended duration. I get to let the data stare back at me. Every dataset has a first row, and there are always one or two faces I see over and over while debugging code.