Airlines are just the beginning. Take Hilton: like every major hotel chain, their success depends on the loyalty of their customer base. So they’re leveraging facial recognition to improve customer service by identifying VIP guests and greeting them by name.
Facial recognition has also made its way into modern casinos across the country. Guests are photographed as they enter gambling areas, and their faces are compared with an ever-growing database of known cheaters. Security staff uses that information to keep a closer eye on cheaters when they play. Casinos also use the technology to identify high rollers, so employees can give them special treatment.
Going Beyond the Selfie
If you’re using social media, you’re using facial recognition. Facebook (rather appropriately) leverages facial recognition when your friends are automatically tagged in photos. The more photos you upload, the smarter Facebook becomes — reaching up to 98 percent accuracy. Apart from the government, Facebook maintains the largest image library.
Snapchat is on board, too: you might be surprised by how much math goes on behind the scenes every time you give yourself funny ears or a flower crown. Artificial intelligence algorithms are tracking your face through three-dimensional space, overlaying graphics that move with you.
Mastercard knows that online retail is all about efficiency and security, so the company is using facial recognition to enhance both. With Mastercard’s newly introduced “selfie pay,” customers are identified through facial recognition — which means the hassle of remembering passwords and account numbers can be a thing of the past.
Your grocery store may be next. At Amazon’s prototype supermarket, Amazon Go, you can walk in, grab your provisions, and walk out — no cashier required. Amazon is using computer vision and facial recognition to know who you are and see which items you pick up.
Facial recognition may be everywhere, but it hasn't been perfected just yet. For many businesses and organizations, error rates still leave something to be desired, due to technical challenges and external ones, too — which can be harder to control. Something as simple as the lighting in a photo, for example, can throw everything off. And when our privacy and security are at stake, that becomes a major concern.
So what's next? In the coming months, expect to see continuous refinement and increased adoption of facial recognition across all kinds of organizations, platforms and services. We're willing to bet that before long — like smart phones, social media and Siri — we won't remember life without it.