I found this opinion article on the Guardian on facial recognition interesting and relevant to some of the work and research I have been doing on assessment, specifically remote assessment during the lockdown and plans for the future.
As students sit their exams during the pandemic, universities have turned to digital proctoring services. They range from human monitoring via webcams to remote access software enabling the takeover of a student’s browser. Others use artificial intelligence (AI) to flag body language and background noise that might point to cheating.
In my work on assessment I did research and look at digital proctoring. Most universities realised that the technology, despite the protestations of the companies involved, was unfair and could negatively impact on wellbeing. There were also concerns about the validity of such proctoring. Universities have also recognised that not every student was in a space, have the connection or the right kind of device to enable them to participate in said remote exams.
However, professional bodies, such as the Bar Standards Board in the article, have decided to use digital proctoring for their professional exams, and their chosen technology uses face-matching technology.
The Guardian article author, Meg Foulkes, rightly expresses her concerns about the biased nature of said technologies and is concerned that they are been used without sufficient safeguards in place, such as stricter regulation and ethical standards, for instance.
The article specifically mentions the concern of many over the bias that these technologies have.
Of most concern is the racialised bias that face-matching and facial recognition technologies exhibit.
This article reminds me of the discussion I had a few weeks back in my presentation to the University of Hertfordshire, where I talked about the possibilities of technology, but I said, first consider the ethical, privacy and legal aspects of said technology before blindly implementing it with students. This applies not just to universities, but also the professional bodies that they work and collaborate with.