Facial Recognition technology has been slowly drip fed into our everyday lives over the past few years. Our first major interaction with it was most likely in social media mobile apps like Facebook, which could cleverly identify pictures on the platform which were you, or friends of yours using the technology. Well, it didn’t stop there – this technology is being built into every aspect of our society, you just don’t see the results…..yet.
Supermarkets are now beginning to integrate this technology into surveillance systems, Facewatch discretely watches people coming into a store, then using a large database of SOI’s (Subjects of Interest) it checks for potential shoplifters and troublemakers.
While on the face of it this may seem like nothing more than a very useful anti-theft system for shop keepers and supermarkets, it does pose privacy issues down the road. There is also the question of just how far this type of technology will go. Lets not forget that right now using the same facial recognition software in China they can catch you jay walking and fine you in realtime, as it happens.
“The systems are getting better year on year,” says Josh Davis, a psychologist at the University of Greenwich who works on facial recognition in humans and AIs. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology assesses the state of facial recognition every year, he says, and the ability of the best algorithms to match a new image to a face in a database improved 20-fold between 2014 and 2018. [The Guardian]
You will of already noticed these types of technologies at your major airports as faces are scanned and checked against your passport, there have also been reports of these technologies now being used at major supermarkets here in the UK on there automated check-out systems.
Be under no illusions that if this technology is not kept in check, in time it will be embedded to our society at every corner and you can be sure it wont just be used with good intention.
Further Reading: The Guardian