We Already Embraced Facial Recognition, COVID-19 Just Makes it Obvious

With an epidemic hitting nations around the world, we’ve seen robots used as stand-ins on behalf of doctors a la Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot, but AI has emerged to be the tech industry’s face amid the crisis and quite possibly integral to flattening the curve.

From contact tracing to facial recognition used in thermal scanning, companies like Sensetime, Megvii (Face++) and Dermalog are some recognizable names of the industry who are stepping up to the plate and offering technology that include solution that replace fingerprint biometrics, detect fevers at record pace, and even offer rapid COVID-19 diagnoses by looking at lung abnormalities.

It’s apparent that with the deployment of this technology throughout the world including airports, where it’s already being used for screening travelers and speeding up the immigration process, living with it is frankly inescapable. And facial recognition is already in use to rapidly detect the temperatures of passengers darting through airports and screen out those travelers involuntarily spreading the disease.

temperature monitoring in airports

So is facial recognition something we can really live with? All the evidence seems to point at the inconvenient truth, that we prioritize comfort over our privacy, and in extreme cases like we’re seeing with COVID-19, the technology (albeit not without its opponents) is embraced.

In fact, we’ve lived through major attempts to regulate user privacy with GPDR, but overwhelming consensus points to how it’s merely an encumbrance to businesses, and to everyone else just another annoying pop up on every website we visit.

And to be honest, it seems like we’re all O.K. with it. Facial recognition has always been threaded in our lives and our daily routine. You might have forgotten, but if you own any smartphone, it’s become widely popular for commercial identification and as a marketing tool to promote ads trying to sell you products.

Plus, Apple has essentially pushed you to unlock your iPhone with your face, which most of us might agree is a lot more effortless than keying in your password every few minutes.

face id apple

So while we might still keep companies accountable, we have at the end of the day embracing the conveniences and protections that facial recognition has brought us, and this is really just the beginning. Facial Recognition will turn the tides for the advancement of new technology as we look at the future where the technology is embedded in everything, but offers safety and improvements in not just our lives but that also of the next generation.

Sped up thanks to these unfortunate circumstances, it’s clear we’ve already embraced this new norm.

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