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Ignotum project introduction

Ignotum project introduction

This is our first blog post for our Re-FREAM project Ignotum. My name is Jan, and I am one of the founders of WertelOberfell. We are based in Berlin and Munich and have a strong background in industrial design and 3d printing within the design context.

Ignotum is Latin for “unknown”. It was unknown to us, to what extend machine-learning artificial intelligence (ML/AI) is enhancing and analysing CCTV footage in our daily lives. We came across this topic whilst researching for another project, and were quite flabbergasted by the information that can be gathered by simply “looking” at us. These include gender, mood, age and other general body indexes.

Besides areas of security (where we are not really in a position to judge the justification of the technology) these tools are also coming into use for commercial reasons, e.g. in shops to gather information on customers. Our gut feeling was that this is crossing a boundary and that we would like to be more in control of what we reveal to this anonymous entity.

 

One of the strengths of fashion is, that it can really empower the wearer – so our project aims at giving the wearer the power to control what to reveal and in which circumstances to do so, and when to become digitally “unknown”.

At the moment we are not set on a certain fashion item or “body area”, because we first need to properly understand how these technologies work. So, together with experts and the technical partners we are in the process of co-researching the topic and are learning to what extent and on which level we can actually confuse these programs.

Taking in and trying to understand terms like convolutional neural networks (CNN) and adversarial attacks/patches, how a machine is learning something and what has been made and done to confuse them are the next steps, and we are very excited to do this together with our Re-FREAM partners: the Fraunhofer IZM, Stratasys, Profactor and Empa.

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