Thanks to the mobile revolution, it did not take long at all for facial recognition to go mainstream. Smartphones, social networks, even consumer electronics, all make use of the technology.
However, future uses of the technology may not be so harmless.
This, according to Microsoft President Brad Smith, who paints a rather frightening picture.
He is of the view that the world needs to regulate facial recognition technology, which if left unchecked could have tremendous impact on the way we live and the privacy we are able to retain — not just with corporations but government as well.
Smith went on to describe a total doomsday scenario for facial recognition technology, expressing his concern as:
“For the first time, the world is on the threshold of technology that would give a government the ability to follow anyone anywhere, and everyone everywhere. It could know exactly where you are going, where you have been and where you were yesterday as well. And this has profound potential ramifications for even just the fundamental civil liberties on which democratic societies rely. Before we wake up and find that the year 2024 looks like the book “1984,” let’s figure out what kind of world we want to create, and what are the safeguards and what are the limitations of both companies and governments for the use of this technology.”
Microsoft, obviously, builds facial recognition technology, as part of its Azure cloud platform.
Other big players do too, including Facebook and Apple. Amazon, in fact, sells its facial recognition tech to law enforcement agencies in an arrangement that has irked many who worry how it is used for surveillance purposes.
The logical move, then, is to put regulations in place and limit how the technology is used.
Governments are yet unequipped to understand the issues that arise as a result. The onus, many believe, is on technology firms to educate the policy makers on creating awareness and educating decision makers on how facial recognition can impact lives moving forward.
Regulation, ultimately, has to come from the top.