Apple + Face Recognition = Me

Seeing my future in my past

When I parted with Apple to start Kairos in 2012, I knew that face recognition technology was going to completely change the way we interact with machines.

I also had a hunch that once the world caught onto how amazing it is, it wouldn’t be long before ‘face rec’ was in every home, business, and you guessed it — on every phone.

So as an Apple grown tech entrepreneur and face recognition innovator, the release of the iPhone X represents, for me, the marriage of the two most significant parts of my professional experience and personal ambitions — Apple ideology and face recognition technology.

Business as unusual

I was ecstatic to learn that while those of us in the face rec industry were busy training algorithms and quietly providing this amazing technology to industries from automotive to media — Apple was positioning its new iPhone product to make face recognition a star.

While I am writing, right now, a simple Google search of “iPhone X” yields over 250 million results — tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of conversations about it — with primary focus on the facial recognition feature.

This magnitude of attention is exactly what the face recognition industry deserves, and needs — and we can all agree — when Apple releases new tech in their products, mainstreaming is only a matter of time. Very little time. Their move into facial recognition is going to push public awareness forward in a HUGE way.

And Kairos is here for it.

“Apple’s decision to remove Touch ID from its latest iPhone and replace it with a face verification tool called Face ID marks a turning point. Regardless of the accuracy or security of Face ID, this decision will undoubtedly pave the way for broader use of face recognition in American society.” — Georgetown Law, Center on Privacy and Technology

All the feels

The ability of an AI product to know how someone is feeling — to be able to understand human emotion and engagement, is dynamic, and creates a depth of empathy between machines and people that is brilliant, and very new.

As an innovator in the Human Analytics space, we (Kairos) understand the relationship between machines and people is rapidly evolving. And if their 2016 acquisition of Emotient, a San Diego based emotion detection startup is an indication, so does Apple.

Their debut of face rec on the iPhone X is indicative of their long standing commitment to fostering human interaction with their devices — and although Apple has given no explanation as to their intended use of emotion detection tech, it’s safe to assume that however they plan to include it, they will further enhance the relationship between us, and machines.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing head, announces Face ID during their September keynote event.

Don’t believe the hype. Well, that hype.

Apple’s new iPhone X is creating excitement, and dialogue, around face recognition technology. There are currently an estimated 14 billion cameras capturing our images, everyday — and by 2022, that 14 billion will have become 44 billion.

Apple’s introduction of face rec coincides with this explosion of image capture, shining a bright light on the power, possibilities, and potential problems associated with biometric authentication.

Concerns about losing “track” or control of our faces / identities are valid, taking into account that companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft consider our identities their own content, moving your face and your info to the cloud to be harvested for data.

“[Identity] fraud claimed more than 15 million victims in 2016 without any help from face recognition.”

In terms of what this means for iPhone X users, Apple’s respect of user privacy with regard to protection of identity and personal information has historically been thoughtful, so I’d expect nothing less from them in terms of regulating insights derived from their face recognition feature.

Also, considering identity fraud claimed more than 15 million victims in 2016 without any help from face recognition, it’s fairly safe to say that the determination of thieves will always create the need for combative prevention.

I’m no more in fear of identity theft from a face scan than I am a credit card transaction or an online application requiring confidential info. The excitement of the “future” being right now, right here in our lifetimes — the convenience and absolute coolness of our phones knowing exactly who we are — is far more palpable than fear.

Kairos’ mission is to make it easy for any business to benefit from face analysis, enriching the experience between humans and machines, and being the premier partner for anything to do with facial recognition.