There will be a time very soon when our faces will be our passports. We’re used to the idea that our fingerprints are unique. Apparently our faceprints are too, and they’re much easier to capture on cameras up close or from a distance. Faceprints are created by measuring 80 “nodal points” on the face — such as the width of your chin or the distance between your eyes. Once our faceprints are made, they’re run through facial recognition databases to connect them to our names.
Cameras already film our license plates at traffic intersections, our movements on the streets, in banks, malls, and retail shops. Expand the idea to include — well, everywhere!
In 2015, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security began its quest to build the world’s most extensive facial recognition system because its error rate is low and its application is high.
At restaurants and hospitals in China, there’s a “Smile to Pay” option. Transactions at self-serve terminals take 10 seconds or less without using phones, cash, or credit cards.
The Beijing Subway plans to introduce “bio-identification” technology that includes facial recognition to increase efficiency by eliminating the need for tickets.
Facial recognition is solving security problems at airports. It takes just 12 seconds for passengers to scan ID cards and use facial recognition machines to complete the check-in process. The Shanghai terminal is able to clear 2,000 passengers through security in an hour. Beijing’s new airport is designed to handle 100 million passengers a year and also uses this technology to match passengers to their belongings.
Instead of waiting in line to get your hotel room key, guests at some hotels use facial recognition technology to check-in and input contact details. After their identity is confirmed, the kiosk dispenses their room keys.
I know, I know — as you read this, you’re thinking about the drawbacks that accompany the advantages. While it’s impressive to see Chinese commitment to increased safety and efficiency, what about the loss of privacy? And we can’t rule out the ingenuity of criminals to contrive equally creative abuse of our images and our information. Still, China is not the only country focusing on facial verification technology. The whole world is onboard.
You may become more receptive to the idea when you learn about some of its solutions to enduring problems.
Faceprints can help find lost elderly people, missing children, and pets. An app matches photos to a database and can instantly alert families when their loved ones are found.
There’s a groundbreaking app to help the blind. The app recognizes when people are smiling and alerts the blind person with a vibration to help them better understand social interaction.
Mobile face recognition apps may be used by police officers to differentiate innocent individuals from known criminals. This data informs police from a safe distance to anticipate whether they need to proceed with caution and backup. This app saves lives.
Surveillance systems can instantly identify when expelled students, drug dealers or other dangerous individuals who pose a threat to school safety approach school grounds. By alerting school security guards in real time, facial verification can reduce the risk of violent acts.
As algorithms get even more sophisticated, face recognition will become an invaluable diagnostic tool for all sorts of medical conditions. It can already diagnose diseases that cause detectable changes in appearance.
Depending on your point of view, there are some regrettable applications of the technology too:
Paper is a scarce resource in China. Theft of toilet paper at Tiantan Park in Beijing and in public restrooms is a problem. Face recognition to the rescue — machines in public restrooms scan people’s faces before releasing toilet paper and won’t release more paper to the same person until 9 minutes have elapsed.
Religious institutions have been tracking their congregants manually for ages. Now 30 Churches around the world, from Indonesia and India to Portugal and the United States, use facial recognition to know exactly who is showing up for services. This helps them identify who to ask for donations and which members to reach out to in order to get them to attend more often.
Facial ID is used in Australia at registrations for university classes, public and private events. It also alerts teachers and presenters when participants aren’t paying attention.
I hope I’ve excited your imagination about ways facial verification is becoming a part of our lives. Some of the benefits are pretty cool! Still, as with many new technologies, we may wish for the option to consent or defer. Here’s a clear instance when we have no choice.
If you like to take selfies, just imagine the world is joining you. If you don’t, sorry!
Sources: Www.facefirst.com, techguru.com