United Kingdom-based, Sky News is partnering with Amazon to let the viewers of the upcoming royal wedding know the profiles of the essential attendees in the event. The network recently announced that it would use AI-based facial recognition software during the broadcast of the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle starting 9:30 GMT on May 19, 2018.
As guests arrive, their names and some background information will appear on the broadcast. Viewers will waste no time discerning the blue blood from the average simpletons.
The software is powered by Amazon’s Recognition, a cloud-based machine learning tool that the company says can detect, track, and analyze faces, including those of celebrities. Using this celebrity-spotting AI the wedding team can save a lot of money. It is cheaper than paying for a personal broadcaster to research and speak to each guest as they arrive because if the royal wedding is anything, it will be budget conscious.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elemental’s chief marketing officer Keith Wymbs says machine learning makes these applications cost-effective. AWS Rekognition is a pay-as-you-go service that charges users such as Sky one cent for every 1,000 pictures that it uploads for storage up to one month. And then it costs an additional 10 cents per minute for image recognition. However, this doesn’t include related services such as compression and delivery. Wymbs suggests that automated image recognition is more cost-effective for a broadcaster than, for instance, asking employees to research each wedding guest.
However, there are still questions about the privacy implications of using artificial intelligence-based surveillance on people who may not have been informed of it and sharing that surveillance with anyone who downloads Sky News’ app.
Arguably, for celebrities and minor royals, being recognized in public is part of the job. And at past royal weddings, facial profiling has been performed by royal correspondents. But at the very least, it will be interesting to see how AI fares at such a task. Facial recognition is easy, but not when the faces in question are covered by extravagant hats.
David Gibbs, Sky’s director of digital news and sports products, said, “Sky continuously searches for ways to innovate and bring better coverage to its customers. This new functionality allows Royal Wedding viewers greater insight into one of the biggest live events of the year, wherever they are. We’re excited by the software’s potential and ability to give audiences new ways of consuming content.”
Hollywood is also eyeing the tech for various uses. At the recent National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, editor and USC professor Norman Hollyn (Heathers) suggested that advanced image recognition capabilities enabled by AI and machine learning could help editors organize their video clips and work more efficiently. And a ‘Who’s Who’ type of service could potentially be used to identify stars on the Oscars or Golden Globes red carpets.