The use of facial recognition technology is unquestionably on the rise. In the US, for example, the Customs and Border Protection agency is rapidly expanding its program of airport deployments; and on the consumer side, this year’s big new iPhone is expected to bring facial recognition to the masses, not just in the US but around the world. It seems that there will soon be a preponderance of the technology in everyday life, yet there are many for whom the technology still has the feel of novelty, and perhaps even science fiction, and it’s difficult to imagine what such a world will look like.
The case of China may offer us a glimpse, however. The use of facial recognition in the country has ramped up quickly in recent years, and its various deployments may offer an illustration of what the unfettered proliferation of such technology will lead to.
Here’s what it looks like right now:
Authorities are using mass deployments to catch wanted criminals and stop money laundering:
The technology is also making its way to border screening at airports:
In the non-government sector, restaurants are experimenting with facial recognition for payments:
A major tech company is preparing to integrate face biometrics into smart cars:
It’s even being used to prevent cheating in student exams and marathons:
… and to stop people from stealing toilet paper: