Flat Eye presents a possible future which may be neither desirable nor avoidable.

To create this world and make it credible, MONKEY MOON took inspiration from the present. There is no lack of sources: online articles, social media videos, scientific journals and more. On the team's private chat, one observation came up again and again: ""when reality goes beyond fiction."" Things that may seem a long way off or even impossible in the game may in fact have already happened, and some of the game's narrative threads were directly inspired by these true stories.
As archivist for the project, my mission, toward the end of the development process, was to gather all of these articles to create this coherent bibliography. It provides a closer look at what inspired Flat Eye, of course, but also at our present--a time of such rapid, constant change that we don't even realize it's happening anymore.
The goal of this snapshot of the world is to place Flat Eye's major themes (artificial intelligence, the future of work, social change, etc.) in their context. The bibliography sorts articles into several different categories (with frequent overlaps) and provides a summary for each. If you're only after the links and references, you'll find it all at the bottom of the page.

September 2022. The archivist.

Drones, facial recognition, artificial intelligence, personal data on the Internet, etc. Keeping a low profile to avoid being targeted by companies or the government has become a luxury. But there are still a few technological gaps out there--some caused by bugs, others by people.

Artificial intelligence in retail business

Published on December 02 2019

Seen by Flat Eye team on December 24 2019

{Content in English}

Short video which shows through examples how videosurveillance and machine learning can be combined to analyze customer behavior in a store: picking up or putting back an object, opening it, scratching your head, etc.


How ICE uses social media to surveil and arrest immigrants

Published on December 22 2019

Seen by Flat Eye team on December 27 2019

{Content in English}

E-mails sent by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) made public during a trial reveal how the agency hunts migrants by using social networks and buying personal information from private data brokers. They consider all public information to be fair game.


San Diego’s massive, 7-year experiment with facial recognition technology appears to be a flop

Published on January 09 2020

Seen by Flat Eye team on January 11 2020

{Content in English}

Over seven years, San Diego fed a facial recognition tool 65,000 images. Unfortunately, the "crime-fighting" system the city imposed on residents has yet to lead to a single arrest.


To fight the coronavirus China is undertaking its biggest experiment yet in rule by data: an app that automates quarantines. Alibaba software, using unexplained data, now decides whether millions can leave their home. It also shares data with the police.

Published on March 01 2020

Seen by Flat Eye team on March 03 2020

{Content in English}

As the Covid-19 pandemic was just getting started outside of China, the New York Times explored how China was assigning color-coded QR codes (green, yellow, red) to its citizens depending on their health status: quarantined or not. After analyzing the application's code, NYT reports that it does more than indicate whether a person poses a contamination risk: it also transfers data to the police. The app used is the popular AliPay wallet application. Many countries later adopted (black-and-white) QR codes on dedicated smartphone apps as the preferred means to signal vaccination or medical status during the pandemic.


Note from the archivist: "I think that after this project my anxiety levels will be so high that I'll go raise goats in the mountains," says a generally upbeat developer on the Monkey Moon forum.

Fooling Facial Detection with Fashion

Published on June 04 2019

Seen by Flat Eye team on April 29 2020

{Content in English}

To fool facial recognition software integrated into videosurveillance systems, this blog article presents histogram designs which can be printed on masks.


Note from the archivist: This article was written in 2019, before Covid-19 made public masking so widespread.

British Cops Want to Use AI to Spot Porn—But It Keeps Mistaking Desert Pics for Nudes

Published on December 18 2017

Seen by Flat Eye team on July 12 2020

{Content in English}

The London police hoped that machine learning would help them to detect child pornography images on the Internet. The system has been a disappointment, sometimes mistaking images of the desert for naked bodies.


Dollars for data

Published on July 21 2020

Seen by Flat Eye team on July 30 2020

{Content in English}

In this episode of the podcast FlashForward, repentant data broker Richie Etwaru explains his quest to make full ownership of personal data a basic human right.


Note from the archivist: "Fascinating and so in sync with the game's themes," says a developer on the Monkey Moon forum.

A Facebook engineer abused access to user data to track down a woman who had left their hotel room after they fought on vacation, new book says

Published on July 13 2021

Seen by Flat Eye team on July 15 2021

{Content in English}

A book reveals that Facebook fired over 50 employees between January 2014 and August 2015 for misusing their access to the users' personal data. One of them used it to stalk a woman who had recently broken up with him. Another stalked a woman who had decided not to pursue a relationship with him after one date.


Black teen barred from skating rink by inaccurate facial recognition

Published on July 15 2021

Seen by Flat Eye team on July 15 2021

{Content in English}

A young Black woman with glasses was refused access to roller skating rink in Detroit because the site's facial recognition system "recognized" her as an individual who had caused a fight during a previous visit. But as it turned out, the teenhad never been there before. The system was unable to distinguish her from another young Black woman with glasses. The article highlights the fact that facial recognition tools are much less precise when it comes to people of color, women and children, which can sometimes result in wrongful arrest and prosecution.


Amazon will pay you $10 in credit for your palm print biometrics

Published on August 02 2021

Seen by Flat Eye team on August 05 2021

{Content in English}

As part of its plan to automate work, Amazon has rolled out stores with no checkout, no cash and no cards--only Amazon accounts. Since 2021, Amazon has used customers' handprints to connect them to their account via a biometric scanner in some stores. The company will pay you $10 in credit to scan your palm and add the data to your Amazon account. Data protection organizations have highlighted the fact that fingerprints and handprints are among the only identifying characteristics humans cannot change, and that normalizing their use is dangerous.


Note from the archivist: A success for Amazon: as Flat Eye near the end of development, Amazon has announced that palm recognition payment will be expanded to 65 of its Whole Foods stores in the United States.