Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall: The Ethical dilemma behind Facial Recognition

llustration: Alonso Guzmán Barone for Dipossum

U.S. facial biometric identification or facial recognition, along other artificial intelligence applications considered as ‘high-risk’ are about to undergo strict constraints under new rules from the European Union for the next five years, and possibly more.

Facial recognition is a controversial form of artificial intelligence that can violate civil liberties, personal privacy and endanger innocent people with mistaken identities. The latter problem particularly is seen more often in errors that affect the accuracy current systems are having when identifying and differentiating female facial features and tanned to darker skin complexions. Besides biometrics, the digital rights group EDRI has warned against alternatives for public security omissions use of the technology.

However, countries such as the United States and China, will continue to push forward these technologies and other real-time biometric identification systems, both in law enforcement and in commercial products from big tech artificial intelligence companies from North America and Asia.

Unless regulated, closely scrutinized and sanctioned by government policies, like the ones in the European Union’s Commision current effort, in a not so distant future about half of U.S. and Chinese citizens will start their day looking into a smart mirror and will be subject to a background biometrical scan (violating their privacy) performed by a new generation of home smart devices released between 2023 and 2026 by big tech companies such as Microsoft, Google, Baidu and Tencent.

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