Face ID is on its way. Apple will be launching Face ID when the iPhone X drops. It is Apple’s machine learning agent that will get used to your face over time. Right now, the big feature that it will power is the ability to unlock your phone. But, there is a great possibility that this technology is going to be used elsewhere. Face ID seems harmless enough. It uses cameras and sensors so your phone can recognize you.
What could this technology possibly do? Besides, recognize your face, that is. Advertising companies and marketing departments will stand to benefit from the ability to watch and understand your movements. AI-powered cameras will be able to collect more data on us than humans have in the hundreds of thousands of years that we’ve existed. The robots will know us better than we know ourselves soon. But the idea of constant surveillance feels like an intrusion on privacy. AI-powered insight, however, is just starting to surface, so this is something that we can expect to see for years to come.
An airport in Dubai is hiding AI-powered facial recognition inside of an aquarium. Similar plans are in the works for traffic hubs around the world. In these cases, it’s about safety. There’s a reasonable expectation that you’re being recorded in an airport. But what kind of expectation can you have otherwise? In the Dubai instance, they are hiding the cameras in the aquarium in order to make it more seamless. Why hide the cameras though? You’re in an airport. Security cameras are just a fact of life these days. Especially in the United States. The scary part is when you add a tiny chip and turn that camera into something that recognizes faces.
What’s even scarier is what’s happening with Apple. Not specifically that they’re using facial recognition to unlock your phone. But the only thing that’s keeping Apple from sharing your information is their own terms of service. They’re giving you their word, but is that enough? Senator Al Franken wanted to know that himself, and he wrote Tim Cook an open letter to voice his concerns. And we should all be concerned. No, I’m not trying to make it sound like I’m Elon Musk, but I do think that this is something we should be thinking about.
Facial recognition is an early and simple example of AI. But AI is a field that we are going to be seeing a lot more in. Sure, it’s being used now, but I think most people don’t understand what AI is doing for us, or even giving us. Are we ready to live in a world where AI tracks all of our movements, all of the time? The obvious answer to that is no, but it’s inevitable, I think. Apple is bringing us AI in a way that we can understand, and it’s only a matter of time before it’s much more main stream.