Facial Recognition: Those Error Rates? An Issue, Of Course

February 21, 2020

DarkCyber read “Machines Are Struggling to Recognize People in China.” The write up asserts:

The country’s ubiquitous facial recognition technology has been stymied by face masks.

One of the unexpected consequences of the Covid 19 virus is that citizens with face masks cannot be recognized.

“Unexpected” when adversarial fashion has been getting some traction among those who wish to move anonymously.

The write up adds:

Recently, Chinese authorities in some provinces have made medical face masks mandatory in public and the use and popularity of these is going up across the country. However, interestingly, as millions of masks are now worn by Chinese people, there has been an unintended consequence. Not only have the country’s near ubiquitous facial-recognition surveillance cameras been stymied, life is reported to have become difficult for ordinary citizens who use their faces for everyday things such as accessing their homes and bank accounts.

Now an “admission” by a US company:

Companies such as Apple have confirmed that the facial recognition software on their phones need a view of the person’s full face, including the nose, lips and jaw line, for them to work accurately. That said, a race for the next generation of facial-recognition technology is on, with algorithms that can go beyond masks. Time will tell whether they work. I bet they will.

To sum up: Masks defeat facial recognition. The future is a method of identification that can work with what is not covered plus any other data available to the system; for example, pattern of walking and geo-location.

For now, though, the remedy for the use of masks is lousy facial recognition and more effort to find innovations.

The author of the write up is a — wait for it — venture capital professional. And what country leads the world in facial recognition? China, according to the VC professional.

The future is better person recognition of which the face is one factor.

Stephen E Arnold, February 21, 2020

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