Facial recognition has been a hot topic for a long time now. But with technological advances now pushing the technology into the public sphere more than ever, it has started to attract even more heat in the form of controversy. Police use of the technology in particular has become the subject of a contentious debate concerning privacy and civil rights, with many concerned about a future of Orwellian state surveillance.
With that debate now so heated, it’s worth taking a step back to consider some of the benefits that the same biometric technology has to offer. Surveillance – whether for good or ill – is, after all, just one application of facial recognition technology, and there are many more that have delivered and continue to deliver social benefit, from the substantial to the frivolous.
Here are a few recent examples:
Facial recognition technology is helping to track down – and in some cases rescue – victims of sex trafficking:
The technology is also being embraced to keep spectators safe at sports events:
It’s even being used to take better care of the homeless:
Meanwhile, in consumer devices, face scanning is proving to be a big hit, with Apple going all-in on its Face ID system:
And the AI-driven computer vision technology that is facial recognition’s backbone is leading to surprising advances in other areas: