Facial recognition is going mainstream, especially with products like Apple's iphone X face technology. But how does the technology work? Who is using it and for what? And how reliable is it? Here are five things you probably didn't know about facial recognition — but maybe you should. 

1) What are the benefits of facial recognition?
They are many. It can help verify a person's identity to make a payment and even scan people's emotional expressions as they enter or exit stores. Unlike fingerprints and other bio-metric identifiers, facial recognition is a quick way to identify someone on video or from afar. And the technology is cheap.

2) Who's using the technology?
Newer passports contain microchips that include a digital photo. When a traveler passes through airport security, a camera takes a photo and compares it to the image that's pulled from the passport microchip to verify identity. 

3) What are the main usage scenarios?
This is used, for example, in a police search for criminal matches or a missing person using verification and identification recognition tasks.

4) Is the technology foolproof?
Facial recognition technology works through pattern recognition, and computers are trained to "see" patterns using machine learning (ML). There is nothing intrinsically objective about facial recognition. If, for example, many more images of white men than of black women are fed into the system, it will be worse at identifying the black women. 

5) Ethical concerns
Today, facial recognition systems are lightly regulated and are not audited for misuse. 


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