Presented in Cooper Hewitt’s Process Lab, Face Values: Exploring Artificial Intelligence is an immersive installation that explores the pervasive but often hidden role of facial-detection technology in contemporary society. This high-tech, provocative response investigates the human face as a living data source used by governments and businesses to track, measure, and monetize emotions.

Using their own faces to control cameras and software, viewers experience the power and limitations of emotion recognition technologies through playful interactions that encourage awareness of these often hidden tools. Face Values speaks to the growing fascination around facial detection technology, particularly in the U.S., where major companies continue to experiment and push boundaries with this controversial software.

The exhibition is curated by Ellen Lupton, senior curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt, and features original work by designers R. Luke DuBois and Zachary Lieberman, displayed within a digital environment designed by Matter Architecture Practice. A visual essay by designer and historian Jessica Helfand explores how past and present scientists, criminologists, and beauty experts have tried to quantify the human face. First presented at the 2018 London Design Biennale, the installation has been expanded to include a new interactive video experience about AI and bias developed by Karen Palmer of ThoughtWorks.