Opportunities and questions around facial recognition technology
Facial recognition is an AI-powered tech advancement that provokes a range of opinions. This artificial-intelligence-enabled technology has significantly changed the game for security and surveillance; including helping in the finding of missing persons, capturing culprits, and preventing crimes. Meanwhile, privacy concerns are increasing globally, and the risk and vulnerabilities of systems if misused are leading causes in the criticism of facial tracking artificial intelligence. While acknowledging these concerns, what makes facial recognition security worthy of consideration?
To grasp the implications of the technology, it is essential to understand its applications. Facial recognition can be applied to diverse industries, but the two main reasons for its consideration are:
- Recognizing and ensuring that the correct face is identified for biometric security implementations in mobile phones, banking facilities, and residential spaces.
- Identifying and tracking people for surveillance and security purposes, which is facilitated by CCTV cameras, airport security alarms, etc.--usually used to prevent or catch crimes.
Installing facial recognition systems can effectively transform day-to-day activities, simplifying and speeding up tasks that can change the way we live. On one end, this can mean ensuring easy and safe access to your residential building, but–in regards to saving lives–hospitals and municipalities can install these systems to allow ambulances and first respondents to gain access in the least time consuming manner. For example, NtechLab, a leading face recognition software company and the creators of the highest biometric matching accuracy, according to Biometric Update, demonstrate how their technology goes beyond single-object analysis to secure vehicle number plates as well as performing facial identification that can save many lives by speeding up entry verification processes.
A natural question is whether facial technology can lead to surveillance misuse and invasion of privacy? It’s worth taking into account that most technologies today, such as GPS systems, microphones and microchips in phones, cars, and smart watches, are equally capable of gathering and disseminating data. The reason these are generally well accepted is because of the laws that regulate them and features that require user permissions. In order to obtain data, a signed user consent or a police or court order might be required. While facial recognition technology is a relatively new advancement, wariness of the technology itself can halt innovation, while in cases where it is deployed, the technology can provide benefits. For instance, according to NtechLab, across various use cases, its technology has helped solve 50,000 crimes, find more than 5,000 missing people, recover a stolen million-dollar painting in under 24 hours, and decrease burglaries and car thefts by 85%. NtechLab also says that implementing its facial recognition softwares in physical stores has led to the prevention of 100,000 shoplifting cases, protecting more than an estimated $10 million. When implemented in retail and e-commerce, facial recognition payment systems are a boon for protection, as biometrics provide top tier security. They can also be used to gather data to better understand target markets, such as collecting the average age and numbers of men and women who enter a store.
“NtechLab’s face recognition system delivers nearly absolute precision in ideal conditions, reaching 99.99% accuracy at 0.1 seconds detection speed. The software’s algorithms can find faces and provide highly accurate results, even if there are significant age-related changes, a beard, mustache, glasses, a medical mask, or any other means of partial face concealment,” Liana Meliksetyan, Chief Commercial Officer at NtechLab shared at the Techsauce Global Summit 2022 in Thailand. The technology can work with data from real-time video streams or large photo and video archives, supporting an unlimited number of video streams and face database entries.
NtechLab’s CEO Alex Minin told The Verge, “When carefully orchestrated, the system is not only harmless to regular people, it helps a lot in catching terrorists, criminals, pedophiles and pickpockets by aiding police to identify them in seconds and locate and capture them in hours instead of days and weeks… The software itself doesn’t break any laws or do any harm.”