Should we be afraid of facial recognition, a fairly new technology that is being perfected and now works on a large scale? We think Yes.
Facial recognition will facilitate many everyday operations according to the same principle.
No more credit cards to withdraw money from ATMs. It will recognize your face. Farewell to the code for turning on the phone. You’ll recognize your teacher. Farewell to the badge to enter your company, which you lose regularly. And then, by recognizing it, we can instantly offer you personalized advertisements. In China, where we don’t worry too much about the protection of personal data, all these applications are already part of everyday life.
Artificial intelligence revolutionizes facial recognition
We’ve been familiar with facial recognition technologies for several years now. I remember having fun with Picasa’s photo software, which identified the main faces and made it easier to group photos according to the people present. Now it’s prehistoric and, also, Picasa has disappeared, becoming Google Photos.
Artificial intelligence and deep learning technologies have arrived. They allow you to change the voices and faces of a video. So it won’t surprise you that they also allow for an unprecedented improvement in facial recognition technologies. So far, facial recognition has worked well with static faces. With artificial intelligence, cameras also recognize people on the move, walking or driving their vehicles, in videos and photos.
The Chinese are at the forefront in this field. Last April, the young Chinese company SenseTime announced a fundraising campaign of 600 million dollars, making it the most valuable artificial intelligence company in the world. It did so again this summer with the announcement of a billion dollar injection by Japan’s Softbank.
Citizen vigilance is spreading more and more all over the world
This massive surveillance system developed in China following the same model as the social classification systems through collaboration between the Chinese state and private companies. The alliance between the Chinese Communist Party and companies that resemble Silicon Valley start-ups.
So all this is no longer science fiction. But, you could say, China is not Europe and this will not happen here in the West. It’s not that simple. Video surveillance cameras already equip our streets, and the terrorist threat increases the demand for security.
Therefore, facial recognition technologies will quickly put us in front of society’s choice. We have already accepted without hesitation that our smartphones are following us. Will we abandon a whole new aspect of our freedom in exchange for more convenience in everyday life and more collective security? Europe seems doomed to suffer this choice so much it has lost technological control. It will continue. The debate has only just begun.