[Question] How hard is it to disguise my gait?

Gait recognition technology ( = identifying a person by the way they walk) is getting good, and I find this trend unnerving.

Current context: It’s already deployed in China by a company called Watrix, which claims 94% accuracy up to 50 meters away from any angle. Japan, the US, and the UK have also been working on gait recognition, though I doubt it’s being seriously deployed in the same way as in China.

And it will only get better. Here is a recent paper out of Zhejiang University in which they generate synthetic data for training gait recognition systems (import AI 252 summary here).

What makes me uneasy is the supposed robustness of gait recognition technology:

“You don’t need people’s cooperation for us to be able to recognize their identity,” Huang said in an interview in his Beijing office. “Gait analysis can’t be fooled by simply limping, walking with splayed feet or hunching over, because we’re analyzing all the features of an entire body.” ~ AP News article [Note Huang is the CEO of Watrix]

Main question: In the future, if my local grocery store installs cameras and uses facial recognition technology to track my purchases and show me targeted ads, I can probably prevent this by wearing a face covering. What’s the analogy here for gait recognition—how do I make myself confusing and/​or undetectable to such systems?

Some random ideas I had:

  • Wear ankle weights, and vary the amount of wait on each leg

  • Wear strange shoes (e.g. high heels)

  • Wear a fat suit

  • Wear a very heavy backpack

  • Walk in silly ways (limping is said to not work, but what about side stepping, etc)

  • Physical therapy to be able to switch walking styles deliberately

I’m thinking about mostly with the “lazy surveillance” use case in mind, which is what I consider to be the most likely outcome in the western world. For example, I am subjected to “lazy surveillance” by Facebook/​Google/​other tech companies, but I can circumvent this by using a VPN, incognito window, different accounts /​ locations, etc. Hence the motivating example of the grocery store—a low stakes but realistic future scenario.

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