Google AI Can Detect Creepers Sneaking Looks At Your Smartphone Screen

google smartphone creepers
We all hate that feeling -- the feeling that someone has their unwanted eyeballs glued to your smartphone. Whether you're flipping through private pictures on your smartphone or typing out a text with the expansive 6.2-inch display on your Galaxy S8+, you've likely no doubt caught a "creeper" at some point who then quickly looks away when caught.

Well, two Google researchers -- Hee Jung Ryu and Florian Schroff -- have devised a way to use the front-facing "selfie" camera on Pixel smartphones to determine if someone else is taking a peek at your display. The researchers have employed artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to spot these lurkers that spy over your shoulder.

google smartphone creepers 2

Ryu and Schroff claim that their program is able to identify a second face (that isn't your own, of course) within two milliseconds, and can operate under a number of different lighting conditions. Everything is powered by TensorFlow Light, which is part of Google’s effort to scale down AI and machine learning to mobile devices. All calculations are performed on-device instead of sent off to the cloud for processing.

The pair of researchers plan to reveal their complete findings at the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference, which is being held next week in Long Beach, California.

We wonder about the battery life implications of such a feature when the front-facing camera is continually running for such functionality. In practice, the user would likely only enable the feature if they're are working with truly sensitive information that they wish to keep from prying eyes rather than when goofing off playing a game like Super Mario Run.