Consumer Technology

We Need To Tell You That Face Recognition Technology Is No Longer a Mission Impossible

Face Recognition Technology Is No Longer a Mission Impossible
PHOTOGRAPH: Mbroemme5783 | Screen capturing using the visual control software.

Face detection system emerged among the breakthrough technologies in the past year that is foreseen to have a big impact on consumers in the future. The MIT Technology Review drew up the list of innovations that will have staying power in 2017 and beyond. Face-detecting systems such as those now widely used in China for payment transactions rank alongside self-driving vehicles, quantum computers, and the use of brain implants, among others.

Today, countries like China use face recognition technology for convenience and surveillance. While many firms across the world use face recognition software to track customer behavior and curb shoplifting, or even identify genetic conditions (through an app), others such as China’s Baidu lets consumers make secure financial transactions by showing their face.

Fast Expanding Tech

It can be noted that the face-reading technology has quickly expanded in countries like China and Canada. Enhanced versions of the technology use deep learning, an artificial-intelligence technique that is particularly effective for image recognition because it makes a computer zero in on the facial features that can reliably identify a person.

Technology from Chinese startup Face++, for instance, allows detection and location of human faces within an image, and returns high-precision face bounding boxes. Those who have visited the firm’s Beijing office have seen first-hand how the face detection system works.

The visitor’s face flashes up on a large screen near the entrance, and the image is added to a database. With the face now providing automatic access to the building, it is also used to monitor the visitor’s movements through each room within the premises. 

The visitor’s face is automatically captured from various angles (up to 83 different points) by the company’s software, which is shown on one screen. Some described it all as somewhat creepy but impressive.  

The Face++ software is also used in China by the country’s dominant ride-hailing company, allowing passengers to confirm if the person behind the wheel is a legitimate driver. Shops, restaurants, and apartment complexes in China are intently looking at utilizing face detection technology, mainly for monitoring people and customer convenience.  

The Downside

Though useful as a security mechanism, technology experts cite a downside of facial image recognition technologies. As with some other types of software, face reading innovation could have privacy risks.

Facial authentication spoofing attacks can take place, using 2-D photos, videos, or 3-D face replicas to trick a system. Some hackers can hack facial recognition log-ins using photos fro leading social networking sites.

Notwithstanding the risks, face recognition devices have been used and enhanced over the years.  Apart from China, Canada, Australia, and the UK have been receptive to using the technology. Such technology is deemed necessary not only as a form of surveillance in airports and commercial establishments but also as a way for brick-and-mortar retailers to compete with their successful online counterparts.


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