/Facial Recognition Technology: A Boon or A Bane?

Facial Recognition Technology: A Boon or A Bane?

Facial Recognition Technology

Facial Recognition (FR) is one of the most applied use cases of Deep Learning technology studied under Artificial Intelligence. Initially, FR was developed by Social Media services to bring an exciting new feature of automatic photo tagging. Later, this technology found other use cases like face as a key for opening the door lock, or phone, face key-based payment systems, watchlist monitoring for law enforcement, FR-based boarding systems at airports, etc. However, it is natural to doubt the FR technology towards privacy infringements concerns, like, theft of face data and its misuse, mistaken identity by law enforcement, the threat of losing freedom if governments start snooping on its citizens, and so on.

Facial recognition system and its mechanism

It, therefore, becomes more important to understand the technology behind so that we can reap the benefits of this artificial intelligence effectively. Facial recognition is an advanced form of biometric system significant for authentication and examination of individuals by correlating and matching the facial features with an image from the stored facial database. A few years back, due to large processing requirements, most of the facial recognition solutions were using a large configuration of servers in the cloud. Nowadays with GPUs, which is a thousand times faster than CPUs, it has become possible to have the entire facial recognition platform in user premises inside their own network. This means the face data can reside within the control of service providers and they have the ownership to control the stored data. Further, many FR providers ensure that the stored data is in an encrypted form that further reduces the possibility of any misuse. With a strong regulatory framework, all such concerns against FR technology can be addressed and the technology can be adopted for its best use, some of them are listed below:

Face as a Key

Many devices are being integrated with FR technology where the face is being used to unlock the phone, unlock doors, access control, controlling tailgating. With the improved algorithm, liveliness detection is also available to ensure this touchless technology can be tamper-proof. In the next few years, many car manufacturers will have FR adopted cars to provide a personalized experience to the drivers, for example, about climate control or personalized music inside cars. FR also has potential benefits for the banking sector, where locker access can be granted with a face as a key.

Law Enforcement and Watchlist monitoring

Conventional methods to track criminals are mostly based on human intelligence and is prone to errors and is mostly reactive. With facial recognition technology, the use of artificial intelligence can make policing proactive, i.e., catching criminals before they can harm. The face can be detected even with aging and occlusion can be more effective in nabbing criminal and bad actors fugitive for a long time. With most of the police forces adopting FR seek localized storage and servers, the possibility of a data breach is extremely low.

Workplace attendance

Workplace attendance is now reaching the next level with facial recognition which facilitates secured and touchless attendance. Not only that, but it also restricts unauthorized entry when the features do not align with the licensed person’s details. This database can be linked to smart software where managers can look over employee’s timesheets and their schedules on a regular basis to gauge their performance and streamline project efficiency.

Mask Detection

During the time of Covid-19 pandemic, masks are mandatory at workplaces and in public. In such a situation, we have FR software which can detect face with a mask and can generate alerts when someone is not wearing masks. This technology can be extremely beneficial to control the epidemic.


Think about zipping through gates at the airport with no papers and avoiding any possibility of touch. This is becoming real with FR technology. After Covid-19, when the aviation industry starts opening, FR technology will help to bring back the flayers’ confidence.

The takeaway

Technology is not harmful; its unregulated use can be. With regulations and self-guiding principles, Facial Recognition is definitely a boon to mankind.

Bikas Jha
The author is Country Head, RealNetworks Pvt. Ltd

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