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Adaptable Allure

By: Valerie Jacobs
Posted: February 29, 2012, from the March 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

Facial recognition technology is right on the cusp of going mainstream. It’s already making an appearance in daily life, from social media and mobile apps to shopping malls, billboards, sports games and even protests. A similar technology, computer vision technology, is powering the databases of popular Google solutions such as YouTube, Image Search, Picasa and Google Goggles.

Despite privacy concerns and regulations, facial recognition technology is likely to become more ubiquitous in the very near future, and this will trigger a re-examination of how we define and perceive identity, how we relate to others, and the role of community in society. As such, it will push beauty ideals to new heights as consumers seek to find and separate themselves from others. But should we plan for the even greater implications that this technology will have on future generations?

Face of the Future

Facial recognition technology works by analyzing a person’s biometric data: the unique facial measurements and indicators that can deliver a comprehensive, yet superficial, estimate of a person’s ethnicity, age, gender and beyond.

Technology already exists in which users can upload photos to find their celebrity look-alike, reunite with long-lost family members, and even locate and adopt a dog with similar facial features.

SceneTap, a mobile app for bar patrons in Chicago, identifies and then publishes real-time statistics and demographics of the current crowd, including average age and ratio of men and women.

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