The photo is undeniably cute: a mom and a dad — he with a stubbly beard and rimless glasses, she with choppy brown hair and a wide grin — goofing around and eating ice cream with their two toddler daughters.
The picture, which was uploaded to photo-sharing site Flickr in 2013, isn’t just adorable; with a bunch of different faces in various positions, it’s also useful for training facial-recognition systems, which use artificial intelligence to identify people in photos and videos. It was among a million images that IBM harnessed for a new project that aims to help researchers study fairness and accuracy in facial recognition, called Diversity in Faces.
The woman who shot the image, a librarian in rural Vermont named Jessamyn West, was surprised and angry when she found out the photo was being used by IBM. She had uploaded it to Flickr with a Creative Commons license that lets others use the photo. But something about not knowing that this