As you’ve probably noticed, biometric technology is slowly but surely making its way into our lives. More commonly used for authentication purposes, biometrics measure and analyze a variety of body characteristics. From automatic face-tagging on social media to thumbprint passwords on our smart devices, it’s likely that these technologies will continue to advance and afford us new and exciting experiences.
Of these biometric technologies, facial recognition seems to be the most promising. Facial recognition has come a long way and, in conjunction with information we already possess, will continue to refine its capabilities. Google has algorithms that can already match a child photo to the adult photo, while Facebook’s algorithms can recognize a person by hair style and body shape, sometimes without the presence of a face. The archives of driver’s license photos not only provide a focused, face forward picture with adequate lighting, but also identification information such as name and date of birth. The combination of these photos, plus photos from social media, which provide different angles and light conditions, allow for facial recognition technology to improve.
The proliferation of facial recognition technologies is fascinating, but you may wonder what exactly it may be used for. For business analytics, facial recognition can be a great asset. With customer information and behavior at the business’ fingertips, you, as the consumer, may get a more personalized experience. For example, based on your shopping history, they can determine which items you may prefer over others. And while ads can be bothersome, they are less so when they actually pertain to a product or service you are interested in.
Aside from retail, facial recognition can increase safety and security in public places such as amusement parks, sporting events, music festivals, or even in churches. Facial recognition allows authorities to identify and monitor attendees to these events and places. The goal is to spot any suspicious behaviors or possible threats before anything can happen.
As with any type of surveillance, privacy issues will arise. And as these technologies become more prevalent, regulations will need to be put into place. Those who may oppose this type of surveillance may solely be concerned with data collection, however, analysis of this data can afford us a great deal of information. Dangers will exist whether there is surveillance or not, but facial recognition and biometric technologies could give us the upper hand in capturing criminals or preventing crimes all together.
What are your thoughts on facial recognition or biometric technology in general? Do you think it will eventually be commonplace, or will it be met with heavy opposition? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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