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Surveillance Technology is Focus of UC-San Diego Professor's Talk

(Posted September 2, 2014)

Kelly Gates, associate professor of communication, UC-San Diego

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Kelly Gates, associate professor of communication and science studies at the University of California, San Diego, will speak on the prevalence of surveillance in American culture at Juniata College at 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 11, in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The lecture is sponsored by the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies.

Gates' lecture, "Our Biometric Future: Video Recognition Technology and the Culture of Surveillance," will outline how researchers since the 1960s have sought to "teach" computers to see the human face. She also will address how there is no such thing as a computer vision program that can "see" faces in a culturally neutral way.

Gates' talk is based on her 2011 book, "Our Biometric Future: Video Recognition Technology and the Culture of Surveillance." She examined in the book and will address in her lecture the social construction of automated facial recognition and automated facial expression analysis.

She will focus on the conceptual and cultural frameworks that comprise this technology and how different interests, institutions and social practices shape the development of these recognition tools in ways that can bring bias into the equation.

At UC-San Diego, Gates teaches courses on the history of communication research, Internet and Society, the cultural history of photography and visual culture, and Surveillance and the Risk Society. She also has published articles in the Journal of Communication Inquiry, Television and New Media and The Communication Review.

She earned a bachelor's degree in advertising in 1991 from Penn State University and went on to earn a master's degree in mass communication in 1993 from Miami University in Hamilton, Ohio. She earned a doctoral degree in communication research in 2004 from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

She has worked at UC-San Diego since 2007. Previously, Gates worked as an assistant professor of media studies at the City University of New York-Queens College from 2004 to 2007.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.