Everyone keeps hearing about how great facial recognition technology is. Everyone wants in on this latest tool but is it as good as we’ve been lead to believe? It turns out that facial recognition was developed pretty much the same way that a lot of our medical procedures. They take younger white men and base everything on them as if they are the standard.
This is why it took them so long to figure out that women have different symptoms that indicate a woman is having a heart attack. Men were the ones who were studied and it was assumed that how they responded was how everyone else responded.
Facial recognition is having its own bias issues. It turns out all that research, all those algorithms designed to detect minuscule differences and measurements have a higher rate of accuracy on young, white men. The rest of the population has a much lower accuracy rate. This leads to a higher degree of false positives.
Facial recognition is not pushed with the idea that it is a definitive identification but as a society we have gotten accustomed to depending on technology and can easily fall into the trap of depending on it as if it is near perfect. Law enforcement was already fooled into that once with bite mark evidence on skin. This was some of the worst junk science imaginable yet courts bought into it as a definitive identifier.
Watchdog groups are sounding the alarm and now even a major manufacturer of police body cameras is rejecting facial recognition. We need to all be aware of the problems with facial recognition before innocent people start paying the price.
Click here to see the NPR article on Axon’s rejection of facial recognition.