- 2018年01月05日14:01 来源：互联网
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Nowhere to hide——Facial recognition is not just another technology. It will change society.
THE human face is a remarkable piece of work.
The astonishing variety of facial features helps people recognise each other and is crucial to the formation of complex societies.
So is the face's ability to send emotional signals, whether through an involuntary blush or the artifice of a false smile.
People spend much of their waking lives, in the office and the courtroom as well as the bar and the bedroom, reading faces, for signs of attraction, hostility, trust and deceit.
They also spend plenty of time trying to dissimulate.
Technology is rapidly catching up with the human ability to read faces.
In America facial recognition is used by churches to track worshippers' attendance; in Britain, by retailers to spot past shoplifters.
This year Welsh police used it to arrest a suspect outside a football game.
In China it verifies the identities of ride-hailing drivers, permits tourists to enter attractions and lets people pay for things with a smile.
Apple's new iPhone is expected to use it to unlock the homescreen.
Set against human skills, such applications might seem incremental.
Some breakthroughs, such as flight or the internet, obviously transform human abilities; facial recognition seems merely to encode them.
Although faces are peculiar to individuals, they are also public, so technology does not, at first sight, intrude on something that is private.
And yet the ability to record, store and analyse images of faces cheaply, quickly and on a vast scale promises one day to bring about fundamental changes to notions of privacy, fairness and trust.
Start with privacy.
One big difference between faces and other biometric data, such as fingerprints, is that they work at a distance.
Anyone with a phone can take a picture for facial-recognition programs to use.
FindFace, an app in Russia, compares snaps of strangers with pictures on VKontakte, a social network, and can identify people with a 70% accuracy rate.
Facebook's bank of facial images cannot be scraped by others, but the Silicon Valley giant could obtain pictures of visitors to a car showroom, say, and later use facial recognition to serve them ads for cars.
Even if private firms are unable to join the dots between images and identity, the state often can.
China's government keeps a record of its citizens' faces; photographs of half of America's adult population are stored in databases that can be used by the FBI.
Law-enforcement agencies now have a powerful weapon in their ability to track criminals, but at enormous potential cost to citizens' privacy.
The face is not just a name-tag.
It displays a lot of other information—and machines can read that, too.
Again, that promises benefits.
Some firms are analysing faces to provide automated diagnoses of rare genetic conditions, such as Hajdu-Cheney syndrome, far earlier than would otherwise be possible.
Systems that measure emotion may give autistic people a grasp of social signals they find elusive.