Technology, wielded right, is targeted at bettering the lives and status of the people.
No matter how good a piece of tech is, though, there will always be some poor sides to it. That is why we have regulatory agencies for these kinds of issues. The pieces of tech that make it through are those that are deemed to have many more benefits than the demerits which could be lurking around.
Today, we have such controversies regarding facial recognition. With major players like Amazon withdrawing its commercial software from the market for a while, it becomes important to see where the argument could sway for this piece of tech in the future.
The Pros of Facial Recognition
Following the trends and use cases of facial recognition tech, it is sure that it holds a lot of promise for us. Some of the most readily-seen ones are, but not limited to:
This heading can be explained in more ways than one.
Starting with the consumer-grade sphere is a good one. Here, we have seen improvements in facial recognition tech so much that we have them on units as small as our smartphones.
The likes of the Apple Face ID have been deemed one of the most secure mobile installments of this technology with a great degree of user security behind them. The applications of this facial tech have been extended to other features such as authenticating mobile payments, accessing sensitive files on mobile, etc.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, the clamor for social distancing has impacted how we live and interact. One of the authentication systems that makes this possible is the facial recognition system.
Other biometric solutions (like thumbprinting, for one) lack this same kind of benefit. Thus, this could see facial recognition tech last for long.
It is one thing to have a piece of tech promise to do great things. It is yet another thing to have seen it do amazing things.
In India alone, thousands of missing kids were reunited with their parents in under a week of launching the tech. It is even more impressive that this tech was applied in just the New Delhi area and such success was recorded.
There are similar success stories from other parts of the world too. They all underline the fact that, if given the room to expand right, we are in for a better security model.
The Cons of Facial Recognition
As expressed in the opening statement, even good tech comes with its cons. Some of the major sources of concerns around facial recognition systems include:
There is a reason why law enforcement agents need to get judicial permission to put anyone under surveillance. That is so they do not abuse their position and watch anyone and everyone they want to. That won’t be possible anymore with facial recognition systems.
They could simply watch anyone they deem fit at all. This takes away citizen privacy since every step of their lives is under the watchful eyes of a camera.
The way data is collected for facial recognition systems is a big concern too.
When we want to use such tech on our phones, we have to give the phone permission. That begs the question of who gives anyone collecting facial data the permissions to do so.
A recent statement from Clearview AI, a startup built around facial recognition tech, further amplifies this stance. The company admitted to scraping images off social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and more to populate and train its AI model. However, they did not even seek user permission to do so.
It is no news that facial recognition systems are only as good as they are trained. Most of these systems are not trained with enough diversity to race, color, and gender. Thus, it is no wonder that black women, among others, are often misrepresented by the system.
When such false positives or negatives happen, that could lead to wrongful arrest, identification, harassment, embarrassment, and even death.
Where do you Sway?
Of course, this system has benefits to show for all its good intentions. If the ills are not cleared out and regulated, though, is that a bet you are willing to take? Many users aren’t, and for good reason. After all, we can only hope for things to get all-round better for facial recognition systems.