Wired explains: Facial recognition

Insights, Videos, Technology
17/02/2020 Reading time: 1 minute(s)

There's one technology that's already being used by millions of people around the world that has the potential to define the next decade of technological progress


There are broadly two types of facial recognition systems that are used. The first doesn't work in real time, it's static and uses individual images. If you have a photo of someone, it's possible to compare it against the database of tens of thousands or even millions of images to find a potential match.
The second type of facial recognition system is more dynamic and therefore more controversial. It works in real time. It's called automated facial recognition. It all starts with cameras that can be positioned in public places such as outside shops or on high streets. The image is captured by these cameras and then processed by artificial intelligence software. It's able to pick out humans and their faces from other objects around them, such as cars, lampposts and street signs.
The faces are analyzed in a matter of seconds and compared to images that are already held on a database. The systems that are currently being trialed can identify tens of faces in one image. They can also scan huge crowds with very little effort.


Who are we? How do we live today? And how will digitization change our lives? How the future will unfold is preoccupying society more than ever, with engineers, doctors, politicians – each one of us, in fact – seeking answers. This video on facial recognition is one of many contributions that shed light on the theme “digitization” from a new, inspiring perspective. We are publishing them here as part of our series “Impact”.




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