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The Way Forward: Responsibly Deployed Facial Recognition


When a new technology emerges, we instinctually meet it with reserved apprehension. Twenty years ago, the idea of using your credit card to buy a book on the internet was laughable. Willfully uploading your picture next to your birthday and current employment status seemed ludicrous. Now we do both without a second thought.

With time, familiarity and the right safeguards in place, these new technologies are accepted as inevitably more efficient, more secure, and the more convenient way of getting things done. Facial recognition technology is the next inevitability that we’ll look back on in twenty years and say “how did we do things any other way?”

Precisely because this technology is inevitable, it is imperative we responsibly deliver on the opportunity for facial recognition to benefit both people and businesses, whether that be for security, efficiency or convenience. Unfortunately, today’s cameras are one-way devices. They record data but are surprisingly ineffective at generating any beneficial immediate action.

With the advancement of machine learning and more specifically, pattern recognition, facial recognition technology can be overlayed onto camera feeds to prompt action where appropriate. New use cases for this technology are willfully adopted on a daily basis. You can already unlock your phone and make mobile payments using your face. Fourteen international airports in the United States are using facial recognition to expedite boarding which recently helped officials board a 350 person aircraft in less than twenty minutes (half the time it usually takes). Using facial recognition at Dulles International Airport, US Customs and Border Patrol stopped a man traveling with a fake identity three days after the technology had been implemented. Facial recognition is already affecting the world around us, and it’s clear the technology will play a more prominent role in our lives soon.

This brings the industry to an inflection point: the choices we make today will fundamentally impact the direction we take in creating a safer and smarter world. Facial recognition companies and their clients must be held accountable for the implementation of the technology and more importantly, the treatment of the data being collected. Only through the responsible use of this technology can we ensure facial recognition is beneficial for all.

At Trueface, we are partnering with like-minded businesses to enable them to make immediate, informed decisions by applying pattern recognition technology to their existing camera infrastructure. Like many facial recognition companies, we acknowledge the implicit bias in publicly available training data that can result in misidentification of certain ethnicities. We think that is unacceptable, and have pioneered methods to collect a multiplicity of anonymized face data from around the world to balance our training models. For example, we partnered with non-profits in Africa and Southeast Asia to ensure our training data is diverse and inclusive, resulting in reduced bias and more accurate face recognition for all.

We’re showing the world not only that there is a right way to use face recognition technology, but that doing so responsibly is the only path to the advancement of our society.

We’re working towards this future now. To get there, we operate with three fundamental principles:

1. Humanity First

a. We build our technology for the advancement of ALL of humanity and are committed to reducing biases.

b. While our technology allows machines to augment human intelligence, we stipulate in our partner contracts that in juridical use cases, humans will make any ultimate decision based on the enhanced data our software provides.

2. Data Security Focused

a. Today, digital security is paramount. At Trueface we are committed to data protection. Unlike most in our industry, our technology is deployed only on our clients’ servers. This ensures maximum security and certifies that they alone have control of their data.

3. Total Transparency

a. We provide our partners with the tools to be data compliant and be completely transparent with their customers about the data that is being collected. We want to provide immediate value to our partners and expect the same transparency in return.

Soon, computer vision will be a fundamental layer on every camera. When implemented responsibly, people will demand this technology for its daily benefits and utility, not fear it.

Getting face recognition “right” doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. While many will claim to care about the morality of technology, few take the necessary steps to ensure that it is an inherent, beneficial feature of everyday life for all.

We’re on a mission to advance businesses and society through the responsible use of face recognition technology. Hold us to it.

Article was written by Shaun Moore, Founder & CEO, TrueFace

Disclaimer: Trueface and parent company, Chui are an alumnus the ReadWrite Labs accelerator program. Kyle Ellicott is also an advisor to the company.

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