Facial recognition specialist Corsight AI revealed to potential investors that it has been working on a system that would build a model of a face based on DNA data, according to a report from MIT Technology Review in partnership with the research group IPVM.
The system, aptly named “DNA to Face”, was detailed in a presentation at the Imperial Capital Investors Conference in December. Framed as part of Corsight’s product road map, the system would theoretically enable law enforcement officials to run facial recognition searches on a model constructed from DNA evidence, among other potential applications.
The claim to have such a technological capability would be a bold one, and Corsight is not ready to make it publicly. Responding to an email inquiry from MIT Technology Review, Corsight CEO Robert Watts said, “We are not engaging with the press at the moment as the details of what we are doing are company confidential.”
There is hardly a precedent for what Corsight appears to be aiming to achieve with its DNA to Face solution. MIT Technology Review notes that a Silicon Valley startup called Human Longevity prompted expressions of doubt from academics when it claimed to be able to use DNA to predict faces in 2017, and a DNA informatics company called Parabon NanoLabs uses DNA to help draft face renderings, but advises against their use with facial recognition systems.
However far Corsight AI may be from achieving its goal with respect to DNA to Face, the revelation of its efforts offers the latest indication of Corsight’s focus on the law enforcement and military sectors. The company was recently cited as a biometric technology partner by the owner of Yozmot, an Iraeli company that won a contract to outfit Israeli police and soldiers with face-scanning body cameras.
That project is likely to draw criticism from privacy and civil rights advocates, as would the DNA to Face solution if it is ultimately realized and deployed. But Corsight AI has also demonstrated some concern about ethical issues as a biometrics vendor, having emphasized its success in reducing the demographic bias of its facial recognition technology in recent NIST testing, with Watts asserting at the time that the company’s mission “is to be the most ethical, accurate, fast performing and privacy-focused facial recognition solutions provider on the market.”
Source: MIT Technology Review
February 2, 2022 – by Alex Perala