Imagine a world where you don’t have to carry a wallet or remember a password ever again. Every payment — from a pack of gum to a new car — could be processed simply by scanning your face. In theory, establishing such a system at your place of business (once the technology is developed, of course) would require only the necessary software and a scanner. It seems like a thing of science fiction — progressing from technology like the modern NFC contactless cards — but it’s not as far in the future as you might think. And it might one day eliminate the need for a cash register and card scanner.
The Possibilities of Facial Recognition Technology
Some industries have already implemented facets of this technology. For instance, facilities that require entrants to hold a high level of security clearance can use facial recognition software to ensure only authorized personnel are granted access. Retailers are also beginning to develop facial recognition programs that can recognize customers as they walk into a store and offer them targeted deals in real-time based on their buying habits.
These examples are just the beginning of what this technology can eventually do, particularly for financial and banking industries. Some companies are beginning to develop a pay-by-face authentication system which will eventually allow consumers to pay simply by looking at or nodding to an in-store scanner. The scanner will identify you and charge you accordingly, meaning your face could be linked to your finances in the future. Though this technology is more of an idea in the present, it could one day replace paying with cash or credit card.
How Far Has This Technology Developed?
Facial recognition technology has already made huge strides forward. Software has shown a continuously improving ability to pick out and identify many faces, both in crowded locations and via photographs across the web. Emerging software can even convert 2D images into a simulated 3D model of an individual’s face, which can boost identification rates from 35% to 85%.
Researchers and developers continue to study this emerging technology and how the human brain recognizes another person. Studies have shown that people look at a person’s body in addition to their face in order to identify them. Factors like build, stance and even gait can be telling. This type of data can be worked into future versions of facial recognition software.
Industry professionals are predicting that this technology will develop to the point that future generations might scoff at the notion of account passwords, a common security feature of the present. However, the future holds unlimited potential for what facial recognition technology can help us accomplish.
Preventing Recognition Errors
But what about mistakes? Technology can often be tricked. Apart from the notion that software simply may not be able to identify a person, there’s also a growing concern that people can spoof facial recognition technology. For instance, some newer smartphones come with technology that allows owners to unlock the device by scanning their own face. However, people have bypassed this security measure by using a photograph of the phone’s owner to unlock it.
The newest phone models — like the iPhone X — address the concern of spoofing. A suite of infrared lights and sensors work to identify your face (even in low light) and authenticate you against stored images. The latest version of this technology supposedly has been trained to recognize when it’s being spoofed with a photograph or mask.
Artem Kukharenko of NTechLab, one of the leading players in facial recognition development, has said that errors like the technology picking up the wrong face are unlikely. He stated,” We have found a special type of internal architecture for neural networks that perfectly fits the face recognition tasks. That internal architecture removes the possibility of error.”
What does this mean? As facial recognition technology continues to evolve, it is becoming a more reliable form of identification with far fewer chances of error. As this technology grows more secure, its application in the payments and banking sphere become far more likely. Making a purchase by scanning your face might be something that comes to pass in the near future. This can also allow your organization to build a customer database so you know who’s shopping and what types of items they shop for when they visit.
Where is This Technology Going?
Facial recognition technology continues to evolve and grow more accessible, taking its place among other types of biometric technology such as fingerprint and iris scanning. In the future, we might see identity authentication in the form of these biometric markers. For instance, future smartphones may be equipped with sensors that scan your face, fingerprints and irises. Logging into your bank account or making a purchase might be done simply by using a combination — or all three — of these biometrics.
Today, you might forget a password, sparking the annoying process of answering security questions or requesting a new password. Tomorrow, that process might be gone. Scanning your face or eyes is simple and takes only seconds. Plus, it’s harder to replicate biometrics than it is to intercept a password. Facial recognition technology has the potential to make your financial information more secure than current technology allows.
What are your thoughts about the potential of this emerging technology?