Face recognition technology is one of those concepts that many people always thought would never be something more than just a thing out of science fiction stories. Whether it was being used to pick out some bad guys from a crowd in a futuristic world or just a feature to open doors with no handles, the tech ability to react to a particular face didn’t seem like a plausible feature. Yet, we’ve come a long way in recent years, to the point where we are already seeing the first practical uses for facial recognition. Face Scanner Preview In fact, all kinds of companies are outsourcing development services to come up with new ways of using this concept. Now famous uses include Apple’s iPhone X Face ID technology and Amazon’s Rekognition , but those are just but a few of the notorious cases. More and more companies are thinking about using facial recon for several purposes, especially regarding the improvement of security and safety standards. However, with the rise of this technology, there’s also a coming wave of critical voices that point out (not without reason) that facial recognition technology could be used to invade the privacy of millions of people all over the world. The debate is on the table and it’s as hot as it’s ever been. So, let’s review both points of view to understand what benefits facial tech could bring and which issues could arise from its use. But first – what is facial recognition and how does it work? Face Scanning Facial recognition is biometric software that’s capable of identifying a person from a digital image. Basically, this application maps out the person’s features mathematically to later store it in a database. The saved image and its essential points can be understood as some sort of password that can unlock a variety of things, from a smartphone to a door. Now, once the face has been recorded, the system waits in standby to “read” a person’s face. Once an authorized person stands in front of the system’s sensors, the deep learning algorithms of the facial recognition software compares the face features with the ones contained in its database. If it finds a match, it grants access. If it doesn’t, then it prevents the person from accessing the system. Conceptually, facial recognition software is very similar to other more common identifying technologies now in use, such as voice recognition and fingerprint matching. Now that you know the basics, it’s time to see the benefits software outsourcing companies are bringing to their creations with facial recognition features. Pros of facial recognition Face As said above, facial recognition is primarily focused on helping increase the safety and security of both digital systems and public spaces. Here are the three main benefits of developing software using this technology: Improved security: the main use today and the reason for facial recognition development in the first place. When mentioning security, you might be thinking about Apple’s Face ID technology, the feature of iPhone X that lets access to users by scanning their faces. While that’s precisely this technology in action, there are other proposed security uses for facial recognition. For instance, its defendants believe that facial recognition could be used in your own home’s security system. That way, only you’d be granted access to your house, while any other visitor (unwanted or not) could be scanned and accounted for, with the possibility to trigger an alert. Additionally, some people argue that this technology could be used in public spaces (from parks to train and bus stations) to identify criminals and terrorists at large while also being able to detect missing individuals. New identification method: passports and IDs are still printed on some sort of material but that might be coming to an end with facial recognition. Just by presenting yourself at a frontier checkpoint, you could be easily identified by an intelligent system that could bring up all of your relevant information in a computer. Since facial recognition is an accurate method that it’s next to impossible to fool, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates that most people passing through the nation’s airports by 2023 will be subjected to a facial recognition test. The idea is to deter crime while also prevent known criminals or people with criminal offenses from other countries to enter the USA. Additionally, facial recognition could be used by the private sector whenever an identification is needed. From banks to schools, several organizations and institutions could benefit from the implementation of facial recon, saving them time and increasing their security on the process. New convenient features: Facebook is already using facial technology and you may have not noticed. Whenever you upload a photo with your friends, you’ve surely noticed that the platform offers to tag them, even going as far as suggesting their names with impressive accuracy. That’s done through facial recognition algorithms built into their systems. This is just one of the new convenient features that could come off the use of facial recon. The technology could be used for a number of practical things. For instance, a British data science company has developed a system called AI Bar that could aid bar owners in better serving their patrons. Thus, the system detects all patrons’ faces to add them to a running queue on a screen. In that way, customers can quickly see how much time it’ll take for them to be served, prepare their IDs if the system feels like they seem too young, or add new patrons to their bar tab, preventing random people from charging them drinks that they didn’t order. Cons of facial recognition Matrix The potential uses, its accuracy and speed, and the convenience it brings can make a lot of people feel like we should be using facial recognition software more widely. However, there are growing concerns about it from an ethical standpoint that are added to the issues posed by more technical cons. Here are the most important disadvantages of facial recognition: Invasion of privacy: the chief concern among facial recon’s critics. In fact, there are several cities (San Francisco , Cambridge ) that have considered or will ban the real-time use of this technology by law enforcement in the fear of mass surveillance. London, for its part, is using facial recognition in King’s Cross but the tests currently in place aren’t just about seeing the technology in action in a real-life scenario but also about weighing the potential ethical issues that can bring and how justifiable the tech’s use actually is. Another layer of concern for critics of facial recognition is that all the images picked up and scanned by cameras with this technology are later stored in databases that might be associated with other personal data. Storing that information is in and by itself a monumental challenge that, without proper regulation, could also end up violating civil rights or endangering citizens by exposing them to data breaches. Technical disadvantages: though it’s argued that facial technology is a highly accurate technology, the reality shows that there are some scenarios that can be problematic for its algorithms. Changing factors like fluctuating camera angles can throw off the system, preventing proper recognition. Additionally, changes in the appearance of people might confuse the system and trigger unwanted responses. The storage problem can also be understood as a technical shortcoming. That’s because there will be an increasing need for cloud space to store the high-quality images needed to support the entire system. As the technology keeps evolving, the need to overcome this issue will turn critical, as it only will get impractical over time and when processing millions of users at the same time. Summing it all up Private companies and governments outsource the development of facial recognition software because they believe that the future will call for its use in several instances. That’s especially true for applications regarding security, as this technology is seen as fundamental to fight against crime and terrorism on a local and global scale. However, no development of this technology will get far ignoring the pressing ethical concerns surrounding the use by the owners of those systems. Seeing that there’s fierce opposition from certain parts of society, facial recognition won’t just have to evolve on a technological level. The regulations and laws surrounding its use will have to evolve with it if we are to see it gain critical mass in the near future.