10 Year Challenge and The Changing Face of Digital Advertising

If you haven’t yet stumbled upon the 10-year channel across popular social media platforms, chances are that you are not from this planet. The 10-year channel also known as ‘how did age hit you?’ and ‘2009 versus 2019’ has been doing the rounds on social media for quite some time. So what exactly is the 10 year challenge all about? It is a picture comparison challenge from the past where people share pictures of themselves from 10 years ago with the hashtag #10yearchallenge.

The challenge is believed to be started on Facebook by Damon Lane, chief meteorologist for KOCO News 5 in Oklahoma for the first time on January 11th, 2019 and from there on it gained popularity as people started posting their photos from 10 years ago. Although people are mostly using it to document their life journey, highlight achievements and showcase how they have grown as a person over the years, the innocuous act of sharing pictures from the past is not devoid of controversy.

The challenge has been accused of creating an easily accessible database making it easier for platforms like Facebook to use their artificial agency technology for facial recognition. While the challenge looks very much similar to the puberty challenge started in the year 2017, it has got everyone worried for unintentionally aiding big corporations such as the likes of Facebook to boost their algorithms for age progression and biometric identification.

So far around 5.2 million people including celebrities have posted under the 10-year challenge which in turn has added to the concern over privacy the challenge may cause in the long run. With reference to the recent Cambridge Analytica data scandal, critics are also pointing out the loopholes that have become evident as a result of the viral ten-year challenge that feeds on people’s addiction to social media.

Although Facebook has dismissed the viral #10yearchallenge as a fun trend, it has no doubt become a huge concern for people everywhere. While we may not be able to fully grasp the intensity of the issue at hand, we simply cannot deny how the 10-year challenge points to the changing face of the digital advertising affirming artificial intelligence as the future of digital marketing.

The huge data of people from different age groups and ethnicity that resulted from the challenge can be vital in training a facial recognition algorithm on various age-related characteristics which can later be used to identify age progression among people. The fact that the two pictures were taken a fixed number of years apart i.e. 10 years ago offers enough input that is needed to train Artificial Intelligence in order to manipulate human behavior.

The face recognition technique used by Facebook is known as “DeepFace” whereas the one used by Google is called “FaceNet”. Facebook’s deep learning facial recognition is an AI-based machine learning technique that recognizes the human face in digital images. Similarly, the facial recognition technology used by Google can yield highly accurate results.

Facebook has been working with the facial recognition technology for the past several years with various activities like face tagging and recognizing photos you are tagged in. While at present this technology has been used for offering users personalized advertisements, the robust data that has resulted with the 10-year challenge can further aid giant corporations like Facebook to improve their AI and use the facial recognition data in more innovative ways. Take for instance, how Google uses its technology to recognize not just people and faces but can also categorize by objects in a photo.

AI-powered facial recognition can be used in a variety of instances such as retail, crime, medical breakthrough and beyond. But most importantly, the AI based facial recognition technology can be used for targeted advertising by using the facial recognition technology to identify a range of demographics such as age and gender etc. and target users based on the same.

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