By analogizing facial recognition to plutonium, I want to add two broad points to an increasingly lively debate about the risks of facial recognition technologies. First, facial recognition technologies, by virtue of the way they work at a technical level, have insurmountable flaws connected to the way they schematize human faces. These flaws both create and reinforce discredited categorizations around gender and race, with socially toxic effects. The second is, in light of these core flaws, the risks of these technologies vastly outweigh the benefits, in a way that's reminiscent of hazardous nuclear technologies. That is why the metaphor of plutonium is apt. Facial recognition, simply by being designed and built, is intrinsically socially toxic, regardless of the intentions of its makers; it needs controls so strict that it should be banned for almost all practical purposes.
It's a good analogy, and one that I agree with, but
if he made a stronger case for it than in that single paragraph, none of us will ever get to know, because he paywalled his paper. Sorry, buddy. The rest of your argument has been consigned to oblivion.
Update: Non-paywalled version here.
In the case of facial recognition, the schematization of human facial features is driven by a conceptual logic that these theorists and others [...] have identified as fundamentally racist because it is concerned with using statistical methods to arbitrarily divide human populations.
This process of biopolitical management is grounded in finding numerical reasons for construing some groups as subordinate, and then reifying that subordination by wielding the “charisma of numbers” to claim subordination is a “natural” fact. As such, racism’s function, as Foucault describes it, is “a way of introducing a break into the domain of life [...] of fragmenting the field of the biological that power controls”. Race and racism are “the preconditions that make killing acceptable” in societies focused on making discriminations based on technical norms and standards -- the justification in turning authority’s custodianship of life and living into that of death and dying.