10 Year Challenge sparks controversy for future technology

Yee Lim Shin– Staff Writer
Just like any other internet challenge that pops up on social media, the #10YearChallenge
quickly trended, starting off the year with throwback pictures of people from a decade
ago.

The challenge was simple. Upload a picture of yourself from 2009 along with another picture from 2019. People shared these images on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for everyone to see. Even celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, Ellen DeGeneres, and Mariah Carey all jumped on the #10YearChallenge craze.

For the last couple of weeks, Facebook filled with countless images of people growing up,
glowing up, or aging, along with funny or serious captions on their post.

“I had mixed feelings about it,” said Abby Barrientos, a freshman at Dordt. “Like one part of me was like ‘oh cute, look at them, they’ve grown up!’ and the other one was like ‘this is so dumb, why are we doing this.”

This light-hearted challenge turned into a much bigger debated problem when Kate O’Neill, a technology consultant posted a tweet that hinted the images posted from this challenge could be used to train facial recognition technology on age progression and age recognition.

“There absolutely are people who have written machine learning software where you
feed it photographs of someone and then the same person five years later,” said Professor Nick Breems, a computer science professor, “and if you do that enough times the software can figure out how to age people.”

The 10 Year Challenge created on Facebook gave an endless supply of images for a machine learning algorithm to sort through and figure out what a person would look like in the future.

Facebook’s 10 Year Challenge, whether it was planned or trended just because people
enjoy uploading photos of themselves, brought on something that is much bigger than an algorithm that may figure out age progression and recognition.

Is the 10 Year Challenge something we should be genuinely concerned about, despite the fact it is only a small section of technology? Is it just a mere trend that will pass away? Perhaps we should instead focus on the much bigger problems regarding technology that affects our everyday lives.

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