Facial recognition is a technology that can identify or verify an object by any audiovisual element of an image, video, or human face. Usually, this identification is used to access applications, systems, or services.
It is a biometric identification method that uses body measurements, in this case, the face, and head, to verify a person's identity through their facial biometric patterns and data. The technology collects a unique set of biometric data associated with each person's face and facial expressions to identify, verify and/or authenticate a person.
Various phones, including the latest iPhone, use facial recognition to unlock the device. The technology provides a powerful way to protect personal data and ensure that sensitive data remains inaccessible in the event that a phone is stolen. Apple claims that the chance of a random face unlocking a phone is about one in a million.
The technology offers the potential to improve the customer retail experience. For example, kiosks in stores can recognize customers, suggest products based on their purchase history, and point them in the right direction. "Face-pay" technology allows shoppers to skip long checkout lines where payment methods are slower.
Some educational institutions in China use facial recognition to make sure students don't skip class. Tablets are used to scan students' faces and match them to photos in a database to verify their identities. More broadly, the technology can be used for employee check-in and check-out from the workplace so employers can track attendance.
Facial recognition can be used to locate missing persons and victims of human trafficking. The assumption is that the missing individual is added to a database. In this case, law enforcement would be alerted immediately after being identified by facial recognition - whether at an airport, retail store, or other public location.
Facial recognition has become a familiar sight in many airports around the world. More and more travelers are holding biometric passports, which allow them to skip the typically long lines and instead get to the gate faster with an automated electronic passport control system. Not only does facial recognition reduce wait times, but it also allows airports to improve security.
Snapchat is one of the pioneers of facial recognition software: it allows brands and organizations to create filters to shape users' faces - hence the ubiquitous puppy face and flower crown filters are seen on social media. More and more cameras software have applied facial recognition.
Marketers are already using facial recognition to enhance the consumer experience. The media company also used facial recognition to test viewers' reactions to movie trailers, characters in TV pilots, and the best placement for TV promotions. Billboards that incorporate facial-recognition technology mean brands can trigger tailored ads.
Since facial recognition software is still in its relative infancy, laws governing this area are developing (and sometimes don't even exist). There are relatively few legal avenues available to the average citizen whose information has been compromised. In any case, despite the risks, these systems are easy and difficult to replicate. These systems will continue to evolve in the future - the challenge will be to maximize the benefits while minimizing the risks.
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