AI is watching you!

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17.03.2020, by Fabienne Remer


Until a couple of years ago you could only see the use of Facial Recognition and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in science fiction movies. Since then, social media started to make use of these technologies. Examples like Snapchat and Instagram that use software to detect your face so you can use filters. Social media not only benefits from the advantages of these technologies but also law enforcement, airports and retailers. Law enforcement for example can prevent crimes, airports can make it convenient for passengers and make passport control more efficient, and retailers can respond to customers specific needs and wants.

What is the difference between both technologies?

Facial Recognition is a system where software identifies a person from a video or image. AI can be described as intelligent machines working, reacting and learning like they are humans.

Cases of Facial Recognition and AI

At the 2002 Super Bowl the USA law enforcement used Facial Recognition to test the technology. The goal was to detect criminals. Unfortunately, the overall test was a failure. The biggest technological limitation was that the Facial Recognition did not work in large crowds. So they stopped this test and had to improve Facial Recognition.

A big company that makes use of AI is Google. They use it to see the algorithm of humans and they try to understand the behaviour of the consumer. Google aims to be a personal assistant that predicts where to eat or what event the consumer is mostly interested in.

Since 2010 Facebook started a Facial Recognition function to help identify people whose face might be in the picture. First, this function was very controversial due to privacy issues, but most Facebook users did not mind this privacy issue at all. Soon after this development Instagram, Snapchat and Apple started also using the technology. 

The risks

The problem with AI and Facial Recognition is that applications can identify and track devices. Another risk is that a device will automatically make a decision for you that can lead to unfair or biased outcomes. Furthermore, many people are not aware of what they agree to when they accept data collection. If consumers just accept the terms and conditions they will accept that their data will be used by other companies. The risk is that companies and the government can track everyone and everything you are doing and potentially abuse the rights of people. Look at China who uses more Facial Recognition than any other country worldwide to control their citizens.

At this moment we cannot predict the future of AI and Facial Recognition, but one thing is for sure, that the technology is expected to predominate around the world in the upcoming years.  

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