Why activists are calling on Carnegie Mellon University and the City of Pittsburgh to ban facial recognition tech

Ethical concerns about artificial intelligence are why local groups such as Partnership to Advance Responsible Technology exists, and why CMU’s own Block Center for Technology and Society launched the Responsible AI initiative in April…

Under a new mayor — Ed Gainey — there’s a new chance to protect residents from “mass surveillance” and racial profiling, Fan said. But first, the City of Pittsburgh and CMU need to commit to a future without facial recognition technology, according to activists. While outlining the negatives associated with such technology, Fan criticized former Mayor Bill Peduto who she said left a legacy where innovation is prioritized over what’s good for the city’s most vulnerable residents.

“In Bill Peduto’s chapter [as mayor] he saw CMU and Pittsburgh as a laboratory,” Fan said at the rally, “one where university research and technology helped cops and militaries enact surveillance, fear and violence to build their shiny vision of smart city Pittsburgh.”