What Is Facial Recognition Technology?

These days there are so many new and emerging technologies coming into play in our lives that it’s a bit of a daunting process to understand them all! It was only a few short years ago that things like video conferencing, 3D printing, and cryptocurrency were the stuff of science fiction tales, now they have become just another technology in our lives, and next year it will be something new we have to get used to.

One of the most interesting of these recent developments is facial recognition because it comes with many potential applications and a few controversies! Businesses, government, and law enforcement have all begun to rely on CCTV facial recognition systems for a variety of reasons, and their use is continuing to spread. Let’s take a deeper look at this new and fascinating tech and the implications it may have in our lives:

What Is Facial Recognition?

 AI software is employed to find similarities between two images taken of a person’s face from different angles in order to determine if their claim of ownership or entrance is legitimate by recognizing them before allowing access to whatever is being gated. The technology can be utilized for entrance into private or high security areas, or even just to sign a user into their smartphone.

How Does It Work?

Computer-generated filters map images of a face then translate those coordinates into a numeric formula that is compared to another face’s data to determine the similarities and differences. Deep learning AI software processes this data.

How Accurate Is It?

In controlled settings, facial recognition algorithms are able to make very accurate determinations, but their performance in the real world has not achieved complete accuracy yet. Research continues with the aim to make facial recognition deployed in the field, such as in CCTV camera systems, completely accurate, but there is more work to do. This is especially crucial in the case of law enforcement in which the stakes of accuracy become very high.

Is Their Bias In Facial Recognition?

Facial recognition rates of accuracy in regards to demographic differences have been closely studied and still leave some to be desired, but the general prognosis is the problems can be overcome with further research, improvements to the technology, and the proper training of those who will be putting it to work in real-world situations.

Where Does It all Go From Here?

There have certainly been alarms raised about the potentially invasive aspects of facial recognition technology applications, but the hope is that good judgement and common sense regulation will ameliorate some of the more dystopian takes on the technology, and focus on the genuine good it can do for society while preventing any potential harms.

The Australian Government was an early adopter of facial recognition technology, it’s the only country to utilize it extensively during the recent pandemic, and some states are employing the technology for use in conjunction with driver’s license photos. Whatever opinion one might have of facial recognition technology, it is a genie that is not going to be returning to its bottle, so we can only hope its future use is sensibly regulated and that it does more good for society than harm.