The ethics of computer vision: an overview in terms of power

Rosalie Waelen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Computer vision is a subfield of artificial intelligence, aimed at making computers see. Computer vision tools enable a system or device to automatically analyze, interpret, and respond to images and videos. Computer vision tasks range from object detection and tracking, to the recognition of people’s faces and emotional states. While the ethics of AI in general has received significant attention, and the ethics of facial recognition (a computer vision application) too, little of the AI ethics literature focuses specifically on the ethics of computer vision. In this chapter, I create an overview of ethical, social, and political issues related to computer vision, using a critical approach. This means that I identify issues in terms of power and evaluate them in function of their impact on the value of autonomy and the normative goal of emancipatory progress. The aim of this chapter is first and foremost to offer an overview of potential normative implications of computer vision. Additionally, the chapter functions as an example for the use of a critical approach to AI ethics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAI and Ethics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 20 Mar 2023


  • Computer Vision
  • Video Analytics
  • Facial recognition
  • AI ethics
  • power
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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