New words – 18 November 2019

facial fingerprint noun [C]
UK /ˌfeɪ.ʃᵊl.ˈfɪŋ.gə.prɪnt/ US /ˌfeɪ.ʃᵊl.ˈfɪŋ.gɚ.prɪnt/
the pattern of lines and other markings on someone’s face that is different in every person and can be used for identification purposes

Unless you have an unshakeable faith in the incorruptibility of our own state – which, judging by the wider mood, most of us don’t – it seems bafflingly reckless to offer up your face to be logged. Yet more than 150 million people, so far, have downloaded FaceApp. Millions more have handed over their facial fingerprints in order to unlock their smartphones more easily, or to activate Apple’s cute little Animojis.
[, 18 July 2019]

smart dust noun [U]
UK /ˈsmɑːt.dʌst/ US /ˈsmɑːrt.dʌst/
very small and light wireless devices that can float in the air like dust particles, used in smart computer technology

Smart dust is coming and when it fully arrives it will change the world as we know it. Think of wireless devices being the size of just a grain of sand but which are packed with cameras, sensors and other forms of communication able to transmit data. This is the future of technology.
[, 2 October 2018]

brainjacking noun [U]
the crime of using illegal hacking methods to access someone’s neurostimulator (= a device that has been implanted in their brain to treat an illness) and so be able to control their thoughts and behaviour

Because neurostimulators are technology-based, they share the same vulnerabilities of any technology. As a result, cybersecurity and “brainjacking” could become a concern. Hackers with malicious intent may have the ability to access brain implants and glean information, change memories, stimulate bad memories, or instigate potentially fatal attacks on a person.
[, 19 February 2019]

About new words

9 thoughts on “New words – 18 November 2019

  1. Trung Kien Do

    We have “footprint” and “fingerprint”, so why don’t we have something like “faceprint” instead of “facial fingerprint”??

    1. Food

      Because neologisms aren’t made logically, but instead by the first person to get popular. This is also an attempt to give credit to a technology without proving it first. We trust in fingerprints, our legal system thinks of them as immutable evidence, hence “facial fingerprint” trying to pretend that there is a level of truth in biometrics that there isn’t.

    2. Andrea Ray

      Er, because fingerprints and footprints are made by flat-planting the body part onto a flattish surface.
      Surely you don’t _faceplant_ onto a flat surface?

  2. Phil Marlowe

    The term “faceprint” has been in use for over 30 years among facial recognition technologists, as well as related pop culture domains like SciFi and political thriller novelization, and the mass media. Why reinvent a term with another that adds little to clarity and understanding? In addition, the concept of a facial identifier similar to that used for fingerprints is non-existent. The fingerprint classification system of loops, whorls, and arches, as refined by Sir Edward Henry of the Bengal police is used universally to uniquely identify an individual. Facial recognition is very much in its development stage, with competing algorithms demonstrating varied and untreatable levels of precision and accuracy. We can only hope that no technology in its infancy, like the current state of facial recognition, becomes a legal standard of evidence in our courts for reasons of “national security.” I vote a definite NO as to encouraging any new word, phrase, or idiom that lends credence to a social myth like the infallibility of facial recognition technology.

Leave a Reply