When you think of facial recognition, you probably think of a number of things, from unlocking an iPhone to a movie where someone stands in front of a door while they get scanned by a rogue . At least one of them, right?
Author: Matthew Stern a technology content strategist at TechFools
But facial recognition covers far more than those things. Innovation in the medical industry, improvements in an academic institution, greater security presence on the streets: all of these are thanks to facial recognition technology (FRT).
I thought it’d be a good idea to go over how FRT is being used today and how the technology may benefit us in the future. It’s going to be a big part of our future, so at some point, it’s important for us to discuss FRT.
How Facial Recognition Technology is Being Used Today
If we’re going to discuss the uses of FRT, it’s only right we discuss its main use: for security.
Yes, when people think of facial recognition, they think of security. Unlocking doors, unlocking devices, and setting up cameras on the street corner: all of these come to the mind of most.
And they’d be right. FRT improves the security of any place it’s implemented in. Of course, not everyone (including me) looks upon this so fondly—but we’ll get to that later.
It would also be remiss to leave out the numerous advancements made in the medical sector thanks to FRT, namely improvements in diagnosing diseases and disorders. If you’re interested in learning more about these advancements, take a look at the app Face2Gene and how it helps medical professionals.
Facial recognition can even help the visually-impaired! Certain apps and services allow blind people to use their phones as a way to detect if someone is smiling/frowning/etc. and alerts the blind person with a vibration.
The Pros and Cons of Facial Recognition Technology
FRT clearly has a place in the world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t downsides. To illustrate this, I want to discuss the pros and cons of FRT.
As we’ve already discussed, FRT holds the potential to improve security anywhere it’s set up. London clearly knows this, as its law enforcement recently approved a plan to add facial recognition technology-capable cameras across London.
However, this brings up the main con of FRT: privacy. Extra security is nice. Extra security lets us roam the streets in relative peace. But the more security you bring into a city, the more you risk the citizens’ privacy.
People are (rightfully) worried about their privacy being damaged or taken away completely as a result of FRT being everywhere in London. They won’t be able to walk the streets without being watched—a life of never knowing you’re free from scrutiny.
Moving on, we can see that FRT has the potential to help medical professionals and patients. As I mentioned, medical diagnoses and blind patients will be able to use FRT to benefit themselves and others, and I think that counts as a pro.
Really, when you break it down, the only con of facial recognition is the issue of privacy. Unfortunately, I don’t see that issue going away, and I can definitely see why there are protests against facial recognition technology around the world.
What Lies in Store for Facial Recognition Technology
But we need not look towards the future with pessimism in our hearts. Instead, let’s talk about what FRT may help us achieve in the future.
With the proper guidelines in place, facial recognition technology will be able to be used for security purposes without infringing on citizens’ rights. Of course, this is optimistic, but I’m sure a few countries will nail it.
Medically, FRT will continue to improve the diagnosis process, helping kids and adults get diagnosed quicker, resulting in them retrieving early treatment.
FRT has a lot of potential. It’s up to us to take advantage of them.
Facial recognition technology has its downsides, and yes, some of them are extremely worrying. However, I do believe FRT has already improved the quality of our lives and will continue to do so. I look forward to seeing the technology evolve.
About the author:
Matthew Stern is a technology content strategist at TechFools, a tech blog aiming at informing readers about the potential dangers of technology and introducing them to the best ways to protect themselves online.