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Computers Outperform Humans at Recognizing Faces 183

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the come-a-long-way dept.
seven of five writes "According to the recent Face Recognition Grand Challenge, The match up of face-recognition algorithms showed that machine recognition of human individuals has improved tenfold since 2002 and a hundredfold since 1995. 'Among other advantages, 3-D facial recognition identifies individuals by exploiting distinctive features of a human face's surface--for instance, the curves of the eye sockets, nose, and chin, which are where tissue and bone are most apparent and which don't change over time. Furthermore, Phillips says, "changes in illumination have adversely affected face-recognition performance from still images. But the shape of a face isn't affected by changes in illumination." Hence, 3-D face recognition might even be used in near-dark conditions.'"
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Computers Outperform Humans at Recognizing Faces

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  • ORLY? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @06:49PM (#19329431)
    Who's this then :-)
  • by Mr.Dippy (613292)
    computers outperform humans on math equations
    • Re:in other news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grammar fascist (239789) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:12PM (#19330993) Homepage
      Right.

      Recognition tasks are almost all inductive in nature, where performance on math is deductive. Human induction pretty well spanks machine induction at most of the things we take for granted - like recognizing and decoding faces, voices, speech, the sound of your walk, etc., etc., etc. The thing computers do least well is infer what bits of information are most important. We seem to excel at that.

      Despite what the findings say, I stand by the faces thing. It sounds like the recognition algorithms got high-resolution 3D scans of human faces as input. Wake me when they can do as well as a human with low-resolution 2D scans.

      That being said, it's great to see progress in this area. I can't wait until someone has to lop off my head and carry it with them in a plastic bag in order to break into my workplace. It's more grisly than taking a thumb, but much less likely to happen... I think...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by McFadden (809368)
        I concur. Computers can outperform people under experimental conditions where the data provided to the computer is exactly what is required to perform the job at hand. Show me a computer that can recognize a person from a brief glimpse of the the back of their head, when they're walking away, on the other side of the street, and I'll agree they've got us licked on this one.
        • Re:in other news (Score:4, Insightful)

          by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:15AM (#19335927) Homepage
          The problem becomes how do you "flash" an image at a computer. A computer has a perfect memory. So you can't compare humans and computers in this way. A computer could completely memorize millions of faces, or even all the faces in the world, given enough storage space. 6 Billion people x 1 MB (exaggeration) per picture is only 6 petabytes. It's a lot of data, but not out of reach. So if computers get good enough at recognizing faces, it could become a useful too in security. Think about the security guard sitting at the front desk of 20 story building. Do you think he could identify every person who walks through those doors. Would he know if you were just using a stolen security badge?
      • by GunFodder (208805) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @01:48AM (#19333127)

        I can't wait until someone has to lop off my head and carry it with them in a plastic bag in order to break into my workplace.
        I can wait - frankly if someone really wants to break into my office they can have my badge.
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @06:52PM (#19329477) Homepage Journal
    It's really annoying how much of this research never gets turned into product.. or, worse yet, it gets embedded in some proprietary piece of shit hardware instead of being released as a reusable component. I'd love to add some good facial recognition to my pet robot, but I'm not buying your watt sucking camera.
    • by Original Replica (908688) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:13PM (#19329791) Journal
      It is being turned into product. Has you flown into the US from overseas recently? They have (and use) fingerprint scanners, cameras and facial recognition software running in US Customs. Sure right now only people with foreign passport have to scan in and back out when they go through customs, but the cameras are right in your face in the US passport lines as well. This may be very new, I first saw them this last Monday in JFK. But apparently this has been going on for awhile.
      • by QuantumG (50515)
        Gone through them about 5 times. They now have a complete set of my fingerprints. As for facial recognition, really? I just figured those photos were stored on file to show that the customs officer was doing his job.

        • by Original Replica (908688) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:39PM (#19330095) Journal
          Yeah facial recognition software has been a US Customs thing for a few years now.

          "As U.S. airports begin installing face-recognition systems to thwart terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, civil rights activists are rushing to decry the technology as ineffective and invasive."
          http://news.com.com/2100-1023-275313.html [com.com]

          "In the USA Patriot Act, the National Institute of Standards (NIST) is mandated to measure the accuracy of biometric technologies. In accordance with this legislation, NIST, in cooperation with other Government agencies, conducted the Face Recognition Vendor Test 2002. FRVT 2002 Sponsors and Supporters are: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Institute of Justice, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Transportation Security Administration, ONDCP Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center, United States Customs Service, Department of Energy, Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Secret Service, Technical Support Working Group, Australian Customs, Canadian Passport Office, United Kingdom Biometric Working Group. "
          http://www.frvt.org/FRVT2002/default.htm [frvt.org]

          I included the long list of agencies because under Homeland Security they will undoubtably share databases. If you have been scanned, everyone has your facial recognition file and fingerprints. I tried to stand out of the camera view, but there was no good way to aviod walking past it. The customs guy did alot of typing when I came in, probably as it was my first time in front of a facial recognition camera. My girlfriend was practically waved through, but she had been though customs just a year ago, as so probably already has a file.
          • by QuantumG (50515)
            heh, well there ya go.

            Thanks for the info.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Old Benjamin (1068464)
            ...Invasive. The privacy people are almost never right. This time, they've never been wronger. I don't quite subscribe to the definition of invasive as a picture.

            Will somebody please explain to me why every time some new way to do anything that would involve identifying people, it's an invasion of privacy? I mean honestly, why are you so afraid? What crime did you commit now?
            • by zCyl (14362) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:26PM (#19331551)

              Will somebody please explain to me why every time some new way to do anything that would involve identifying people, it's an invasion of privacy? I mean honestly, why are you so afraid?

              The freedom of assembly is what's at stake, and it in turn is essential for a free democracy. If the government can track the movements of innocent people, then it can monitor the organizations and associations (including political) that one is associated with. And if the government has the power to document the members of every rival political movement as it is forming, including all the other activities of the members, then they have the power to intimidate and crush it. (Don't believe me? Find a history book.)

              Privacy from the government is a key component of freedom, because it places serious constraints on the government's power over the people. Without this, you can very easily become a subject rather than a free citizen.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by T-Bone-T (1048702)
              Ever heard the term "panopticon"? When you know that someobody could be observing your every move and you don't know exactly when you are being specifically observed, your behavior will change to what you believe the observer wants. Every camera brings us one step closer. I know there is no expectation of privacy in public but I wish it was a person on every corner rather than a camera. What the camera sees has the potential to exist indefinitely, human memories will fade and disappear.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by fractoid (1076465)

                When you know that someobody could be observing your every move and you don't know exactly when you are being specifically observed, your behavior will change to what you believe the observer wants.

                Only if the observer has the power to impose their will on you. I can stand on a street corner and say I hate the government as loudly as I want, and I don't care if they have a camera watching me. The moment they get the power to lock me up for saying I hate them is the moment that the freedom goes away, not when they put the camera up.

                I read an interesting piece on two different types of surveillance society a while back. The first one had state/police cameras recording everything and everywhere, and b

                • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                  by glittalogik (837604)
                  The Transparent Society [davidbrin.com] by David Brin.
                • by rbanffy (584143)
                  The cameras, the software are only tools, but they can greatly help a totalitarian government to do its job. Instead of worrying only when such draconian laws are passed, you should start to worry when there is enough infrastructure for those draconian laws to be enforced. If you are paranoid enough, just the political manipulation of the SCOTUS should trigger your discomfort.

                  And I bet there will be no cameras and microphones in any high-level government office streaming content to the general people as thi
            • How exactly do you define privacy?
              the quality of being secluded from the presence or view of others
              the condition of being concealed or hidden
              wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn


              And how do you define investigation?
              the work of inquiring into something thoroughly and systematically
              wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

              So which of these two definitions would more accurately describe having facial recognition software observing you?
      • by timeOday (582209)

        It is being turned into product. Has you flown into the US from overseas recently?
        Casinos [209.85.165.104] are the #1 customers for face recognition. The systems are extremely expensive. Money is defintely being made on face recognition.
      • by Hatta (162192)
        And thank God. If we had had computerized face scanners 9/11 never would have happened.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by risk one (1013529)

      Trust me, this will become product. Walking through downtown London, you will get recognized. They already have your passport photo.

      I hope I've been able to put your mind at ease.

    • by ross.w (87751)
      Even my A$180 Nikon compact camera has a mode where it knows when it's looking at a face and uses that to decide what to focus on. It can't tell one face from another, but rudimentary face recognition is definitely finding its way into consumer products. As a matter of fact this one gets less false positives than a human would.
  • by Palmyst (1065142) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @06:54PM (#19329499)
    I wonder whether these scientists lose any sleep over how their research advances will contribute to the future of our societies.
    • by presarioD (771260) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:06PM (#19329699)
      I wonder whether these scientists lose any sleep over how their research advances will contribute to the future of our societies.

      If scientists ever paused to think for the possibilities of potential abuse of their intellectual effort, progress as we know it would come to a grinding halt. Back to Neanderthal times...

      It relies on the ordinary people to safeguard their societies from degenerating but that is an entire different subject (requires getting off the couch alot), and since I can already see the political-zombies approaching to offer their caned insight into the matter it's time for me to split...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Thrip (994947)
        I think you're letting researchers off the hook too easy. There are a million things to research, yet many people choose to work on projects that have dubious implications for society. I mean, sure, there's a lot of gray area between searching for a cancer cure and weaponizing anthrax, but I see no reason to excuse scientists from at least asking themselves where their work falls on that spectrum, and whether what they're doing is likely to improve or damage our world.

        Back to Neanderthal times...

        I'm afraid moving forward to Neande

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by maxume (22995)
          Name five technologies that you like. I bet I can name dubious implications for no less than 3 of them, especially if you make them different, rather than hiding behind fragrances(which can be used to make food of low nutritional value more attractive, or to shift the moods of shoppers so that they are a bit more spendy) or whatever, and relatively specific(because in general 'a cure for cancer' is a good thing, but not really a technology).
    • by ucblockhead (63650) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:37PM (#19330077) Homepage Journal
      Every technology has downsides. This technology clearly has pretty serious upsides. Do you wonder whether the inventors of the integrated circuit lost sleep over the contributions of their work to the surveillance society?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kuciwalker (891651)
      If something is possible it will be done by someone.
  • once the technology becomes more refined, they could put a camera connected to a computer(stored with all the mugshots in the nation) near a bank or other commonly visited area be able to catch tons of criminals
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      I don't think any of these technologies are up to that level yet, but it's a nice idea.

      And yes, the exact same technology could be used to horrific effect by a police state.
      • You said it was a nice idea, but then called a police state "horrific". Make up your mind. Sure it would be nice to be able to easily track violent criminals, but what about potentialy violent criminals like terrorists, or anarchists, or people who right Un-American things on the internet? Why would you say that a police state would be "horrific" if you haven't done anything wrong? You should just confess now, we want to help you.
        • by QuantumG (50515)
          Your confusion about the term "police state" is a clear indicator of your failure to study history.

        • by SEE (7681)

          what about . . . people who right Un-American things on the internet?

          Yeah, I can see how police states would want to persecute people who correct anti-American propaganda. All the more reason to overthrow their governments and hang their despotic leaders.
    • by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:18PM (#19329841) Homepage
      Screw the criminals. Thinks about how many law abiding citizens you'll be able to track. :D
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @06:58PM (#19329551) Homepage Journal
    When a human makes a mistake recognizing a face, they suffer the results. If that's identifying a criminal, they can be cross-examined, or even sued or jailed, depending on what they said that face did.

    When computers mis-ID a face, do we cross-examine and maybe punish its programmers?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Hex4def6 (538820)
      Don't be silly.

      If this were to be used for criminal identification, I'm sure that when they get a "hit" for a wanted suspect, that they're going to manually sift through the video, in order to figure out direction of travel etc.

      These things aren't error proof, and never will be. A jury would also probably be more sawyed by seeing part of the footage than just having a prosecutor say "the computer said it was him."

      If I were an (innocent) suspect, I'd much rather that I was tagged by a computer, since the vid
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        What makes you so sure it will be used so responsibly? Our jails have thousands of people who didn't commit the crimes that sent them there. Hundreds of innocent people have been freed by DNA evidence after years of jail, while prosecutors still resist the evidence. And that's the results of using technology and techniques with hundreds of years of being challenged.

        Why do you give our justice system, which has recently incorporated even more egregious abuses (like discarding Habeas Corpus), the benefit of t
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by risk one (1013529)
      Programmer: We've finished your face recognition system. We estimate its error to be about 0.5 percent.
      Politician: Can the technobabble, nerd. Roll it out. We need to catch us some t'rists.
      Leftist Media: "Middle-Eastern man unfairly jailed, tortured"
      Politician: Sue the programmers! Damn geeks. Technology is evil!
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Which leftist media would that be? You mean the one that's ignoring all the Mideastern men jailed, tortured and killed in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and the CIA's global network of secret torture prisons, without even face recognition?

        The rest you got right. Except the part where the media doesn't report the programmer's warning or the politician ignoring it.
    • by mgblst (80109)
      Since the computer is hooked up to a laser, this isn't so much of a problem.

      In reality, have you ever heard of cctv cameras? Do their manufactures get punished? How is this any different?
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        CCTV cameras don't make decisions about who is who. People watching their monitors do, and get in trouble (or ought to) when they make mistakes. These face recognition machines aren't replacing the cameras, they're replacing the people.
        • by mgblst (80109)
          Can you provide an instance of somebody who made a mistake watching CCTV footage has ever gotten into any kind of trouble? My point is that the computers don't make a decision, and then start firing lasers. Obviously they will inform a human, who will make a judgement about what needs to be done. Is that reasonable enough for you?
          • by Doc Ruby (173196)
            Well, it's reasonable, but it seems wrong. I don't think saying the many people who have to recognize faces on CCTV for the past few decades have never made mistakes that got them into trouble is a claim extraordinary enough to require specific cited evidence. I think claiming no one ever has is the kind of dramatically counterintuitive claim that would need backing up.

            Conversely, I think that trusting authorities with the track records we know about to never let these machines make automatic decisions with
  • by DanFM (1083351) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @06:59PM (#19329561) Journal
    My tinfoil hat has a visor.
  • Had to say it... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ectotherm (842918)
    I, for one, welcome our face-recognizing overlords...
    • by robably (1044462)

      I, for one, welcome our face-recognizing overlords...
      That should read:

      I, for one, welcome
      HELLO ECTOTHERM.
      our face-recog... um. Hello.
  • My Plugin (Score:4, Funny)

    by ReidMaynard (161608) * on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:02PM (#19329623) Homepage
    if(hot_gurl) {
          RingBell();
        }
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:04PM (#19329659) Homepage Journal

    improved tenfold since 2002 and a hundredfold since 1995
    Because of the internet explosion since 1995, I, too, recognize facials at least a hundred times better. Or at least see them a hundred times more.
  • Ageing? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 644bd346996 (1012333)
    How good are computers at recognizing a face after ten or twenty years? I doubt the algorithms can recognize, say, a teenager based on photos taken prior to puberty. Also, can they maintain accuracy even if somebody has a new scar or puts on dark sunglasses? How much of a face does it take to make a match?
    • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:25PM (#19329921) Homepage Journal
      "for instance, the curves of the eye sockets, nose, and chin, which are where tissue and bone are most apparent and which don't change over time."

      Geez.
      • Note specifically that I mentioned puberty. Faces do change shape significantly during puberty. This kind of technology will be used heavily in child abduction cases, where these issues really make a difference.
      • ...the curves of the eye sockets

        The movie 'Hostel' demonstrated that this can be defeated with a blow torch.

        • The movie 'Hostel' demonstrated that this can be defeated with a blow torch.

          Oh intertron, you are a wealth of practical information. :D

    • by vux984 (928602)
      They specifically said it uses the visible curvature of the bone as the primary recognition factor. Thinks like scars, glasses, will have a limited effect to disguise.

      As for puberty, sure the curvature will change while the skull is still forming, but even by early teens things are mostly set.

      Really thick facial hair that totally obscures the outline of your head plus oversize glasses that obscure your eye sockets and brow ridges would defeat it, but that hairy bastard with glam-rock shades is going to stic
    • Re:Ageing? (Score:5, Funny)

      by D-Cypell (446534) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:35PM (#19330035)
      How good are computers at recognizing a face after ten or twenty years?

      Hopefully better than I am, otherwise they better be damn good at making generic bullshit small talk at family parties while sweating profusely and fishing for hints without letting on they have absolutely no idea who it is that just ambused them at the buffet table.

      Actually, the opposite situation is just as bad. I have enough of a problem with my 'aunt's old room-mate' or equivilant telling me they "remeber me when I was just 'this' big" (given the amount of random old women that at some point 'changed my diaper' I have begun to wonder if my parents rented me out as a training aid), I do not need the computer hardware in my life pulling the same act!

      Either way.... this will end badly.

  • If my friend, who has no facial hair, puts on a fake mustache, I can still tell that it's my friend.

    Will an algorithm be able to distinguish fake markings?
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      "for instance, the curves of the eye sockets, nose, and chin, which are where tissue and bone are most apparent and which don't change over time."

      Again, it's IN THE SUMMARY.

    • by Tribbin (565963)
      Or even if it is your own mustache that you grow?

      And cheap plastic surgery application will skyrocket; not with the goal to become 'prettier'.
    • by dbIII (701233)

      If my friend, who has no facial hair, puts on a fake mustache, I can still tell that it's my friend.

      In the BBC documentary series "The Face" the former python John Cleese put on a dress, hat and sunglasses and walked down the street with a silly walk. Everyone recognised him but none of the face recognition algorithms in use at the time could. The sunglasses removing information about the eyes baffled the best of the things available after he put those on. Humans could still identify him with ease so th

      • Hmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Slayer (6656)
        Because that's not what face recognition software was made for. When people watched John Cleese, they knew they watched a celebrity and they also knew that not too many celebrities would dress up like this and do the silly walk. Only using all this extra information made people recognize John Cleese. Chances are that even in a small town you'd find quite a few people who, if dressed up and walking like that, would easily pass as "John Cleese". On the other side most actors/models would not be recognized by
  • ORLY? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:24PM (#19329915)

    for instance, the curves of the eye sockets, nose, and chin, which are where tissue and bone are most apparent and which don't change over time.


    so, apparently, plastic surgery doesn't exist.
    • by compro01 (777531)
      unless they're messing with the facial bone structure, cosmetic procdures shouldn't have any effect on this.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by maxume (22995)
        My impression is that chin and cheek bone implants are pretty common. Not quite up there with nose jobs, but common none the less. To me, it seems like you can kind of tell, lots of people on tv have faces that don't quite look like they were born with them.
  • I'm lucky (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tribbin (565963) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:26PM (#19329943) Homepage
    It's a question of time 'till there 's a law that forbids to wear anything that partially covers your face in certain public areas.

    I think I have about ten years 'till computers are able to interpret my front-head as a 'face' so I'm safe.
    • After LA the incident in May where protesters and cameramen kept running into police batons and shooting themselves with stolen police guns, the LAPD wants the city council to ban masks and goggles [laweekly.com] from public demonstrations. A law somewhere in Europe against masks was recently applied to burkas (no source, but google can backup any claim).
    • by witte (681163)
      Meanwhile, president Nixon will be sighted in multiple places at the same time.
  • Not that impressive (Score:4, Informative)

    by DynaSoar (714234) * on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:27PM (#19329949) Journal
    Human face recognition is run by a several hardwired circuits operating in parallel (ie. fast, with little control) with the results put together after by some heuristics -- a good enough guess. What humans need to get from facial recognition, and what their ancestors required and so developed through evolution, is nowhere near the same thing facial recognition software is after. Humans need to recognize quickly that there is a face and what information it's displaying far more than they need to differentiate one from another. Facial recognition software does just the opposite. Also, the software does the complete job every time. Humans only process as much as they need to in any given instance.

    If "better" is based on the standards of humans (fastest good enough guess) rather than machines (as correct as possible, complete & in depth), humans win.
    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Humans also tend to optimize to the extreme. I was watching a show a while back where they did an experiment on some people where they'd start asking the person a question for some poll or other then have a couple of guys carrying a big wood thing and would switch out the interviewer for another person. After the switch the new person would carry on interviewing the subject as if nothing had happened and no one noticed the switch. It would seem that human recognition software just goes $GUY for people it do
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)
      If "better" is based on the standards of humans (fastest good enough guess) rather than machines (as correct as possible, complete & in depth), humans win.

      Translation: Throw enough hardware at it, and the machines win? Whatever a computer has been successfully programmed to do, it's usually bloody fast at it. It sounds like a well parallelizable task that should scale easily for many years to come.
  • In related news... (Score:3, Informative)

    by evanbd (210358) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:32PM (#19330009)
  • Quite impressive.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by denoir (960304) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:35PM (#19330047)
    This is actually a great milestone as we humans are really excellent at face recognition. In fact, we are so good at it that we produce tons of false positives and recognize faces where there are none (clouds, toasts etc).

    A few years back (well, nearly a decade actually), I did my master's thesis in a lab that among other things did work on face recognition. The experts there assured me that perhaps in 50 years or so computers might be able to approach human face recognition capabilities. Apparently the development was far quicker than they could have imagined.

    An interesting technical point is that in fact the algorithms haven't changed a lot since then - it's still mainly various adaptive systems such as neural networks [wikipedia.org] and support vector machines [wikipedia.org]. The really big breakthrough is in the data collection - in the sensors and scanners. What they couldn't imagine a decade ago was the type of accurate automatic 3d face modeling and measurements that can be done today. It's also how certain computing methods that were deemed unsuitable a few years ago are coming back big time (neural nets for instance). I guess the time wasn't ready for them the last time due to computing power and memory limitations (and of course sensors as in this case).

    • This computer is comparing faces that are given to it, to see who they belong to. This is a lot harder than finding a face in a random pic, or in the street. The job of measuring the features of a face that is presented to it, then comparing it to a database, is a lot lot easier than finding a face in the midst of a big jumble of non-face, and then recognising it. When a computer can do that, I will be really impressed.
  • Facial recognition software? Of course it's better than people, in terms of physical metrics. Computers beat people at chess and go, why wouldn't they beat us at the game of recognizing people?

    But people have other qualities which will prove more resistant to computer analysis.

    As facial recognition software evolves, people will evolve defensive strategies (poker face? false-emotion face? alien-face?).

    Another thought, I'm reminded of a phrase from Snowcrash -- "condense facts from the vapors of nua
  • How long does the scanning process take?
    It seems to me comparing this to human face recognition capabilities is like comparing apples to oranges. Humans recognize faces with vision (3D and 2D) and can work with huge amounts of noise.
    These systems appear to require a still head in a vise, a huge amount of spatial data, are not vision based and I'm guessing are not very immune to noise.
    To answer the other posts - I don't think you'll see this any time soon because it doesn't seem to be practical for most uses
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Bardsley (946251)
      I'm researching 3D Face Reconstruction and Recognition for my PhD (see my website). The structured light scanner I use to acquire my 3D data takes less then 0.2ms for the 2 phase capture of structured light / texture images and then about 30 seconds to produce a high resolution model from the 4 stereo images. This is sufficiently fast to capture a subject even if they are moving during the capture process. Using this technology a subject must be suitably close to the cameras for the reconstruction to work,
  • Caricatures (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Philotic (957984) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:27PM (#19331109)
    I'll be impressed when they can recognize caricatures as well as humans.
  • Other Race Effect (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fishbowl (7759) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:37PM (#19331167)
    One of the academic research areas I've been involved in, is study of the so-called "Other Race Effect". There is some evidence that people have quantifiable error when asked to identify faces of people of other races than their own.

    Computers won't be subject to this.
    • by tuxette (731067) *
      A more direct way of saying this is "all blacks look the same," "all Asians look the same," etc.

      My Chinese mom thinks all white people look the same. I (now jokingly) tell her all Chinese look the same and she says "oh, no no no, they're not..."

      One of my best friends has been working in various parts of Africa for the past few years, says it took her some time before she was able to truly tell one black person from the other, the way she can tell one white person from the other.

      I'm sure lots of other people
  • Time to invest (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nazlfrag (1035012)
    I always knew sometime in the future we'd be wearing those 80's wraparound sunglasses everywhere. That or one of those nifty 3-in-1 fake nose, mustache and glasses kits.
  • I wonder if this could be used to measure attractiveness? Of course this is somewhat of a subjective thing, because I might find certain women attractive, while my friend prefers different women.

    If the facial recognition software could identify the distinctive features of women that I prefer, it could potentially find chicks for me!

    Of course, since this is slashdot, I would have to move out of my parents home to actually meet these hypothetical chicks.

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