Finding long-term missing persons: how AI computer vision can help

The challenges in identifying long-term missing persons

Statistics from Canadian Centre for Child Protection indicate that “more than 50,000 children are reported missing to police each year. While most are located within a short period of time, some become long-term missing child cases.”

One of the main difficulties in finding long-term missing persons, especially children and victims of human trafficking, is due to the change in facial characteristics (i.e. age progression) that may become unrecognizable even to the missing persons’ own families. In addition, due to the large volume of data, the identification of long-term persons can be a very labour-intensive task that exceeds the physical limit for data processing by individual human brains.

A possible solution: AI — computer vision

Recent technological breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence (AI) computer vision technology provide opportunities for us to dramatically increase the efficiency in finding long-term missing persons. This technology enables computers to gain high-level understanding from digital images or videos. Unlike human eyes and brains, an AI computer vision algorithm can process gigabytes (even terabytes) of data without compromising accuracy due to fatigue, and it can do it in less than one thousandth of time required by human brains.

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