A Brief Reasoning: On Facial Recognition Technology

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Facial recognition technology scares people. I am not sure why. I have been using my own facial recognition technology for as long as I can remember. Even back in elementary school, I was using facial recognition technology. I remember hopping into the car after school, sliding across the back seat, and settling in for the ride home. Then, after buckling up, I would lean forward to get a good look at the profile of the person sitting in the driver’s seat. I would use my built-in facial recognition technology to identify the person sitting in the front seat. “Yep, that’s my mom,” I would say. Or, on a few occasions, I would say, “Whoops, that’s not my mom,” then correct my mistake with a hasty exit from the car. If only car recognition technology existed back then.

The benefits of facial recognition technology clearly outweigh the privacy issue nonsense that upsets people. Think of all those embarrassing moments that can be avoided. Imagine yourself going to a job interview. You may one day find yourself in a similar scenario like the one in this example:

“We keep the doors to the office building locked,” the interviewers will tell you when you set up your appointment. “But you will be able to access the door that day. All you will have to do is point your face at the camera above the door. Our facial recognition technology will confirm that it is you and let you in.”

“But how do you know what my face looks like?” you will ask.

“We know what your face looks like,” they will say. “We’ve pulled up thousands of images of you over the last decade through multiple different facial recognition applications. We cross-reference those images with your driver’s license and passport photo. Then compare those with this corner store surveillance video from last Tuesday of you buying a pair of toe socks, a mop, and a bag of Funyuns that I happen to be watching right now.”

“Oh,” you will say, and briefly get lost in thought as you remember how fun but sad last Tuesday was for you and your partner. “Okay, see you tomorrow at two.”

“Looking forward to it,” they will say.

The next day you will be a little nervous about the interview. You will eat a light lunch consisting only of a small Caesar salad. It is enough food to tide you over until dinner without making you gassy during the interview. You will arrive at the office building for the interview and proceed to look at the camera as instructed. The camera will deny you access. “There must be some mistake,” you will think. You will try again. The camera will deny you entry into the building a second time. “What’s going on?” you will wonder. You will start to sweat. “Did they cancel my interview? Did they fill the position?” You will try a third time but with the same result. “Did they find a better candidate?” You will frantically pull out your cell phone to call the interviewer. You will see the reflection of your face on the blank screen of the phone before you make your panicked phone call. A call that most certainly would have resulted in you not getting the job because who wants to hire someone that can’t even open the door to the office building? You will pause and stare at your reflection. You will take a deep breath. “What is that on my face?” you will wonder. You will wipe the side of your mouth with the underside of your sleeve. You will look at your sleeve. “Salad dressing,” you will say. You will smile. You will look up at the camera. The door will unlock and you will get the job. On your way out, you will be grateful for facial recognition technology because you will know there was no way they would have hired a slob.

Author’s Note: This post is part of my “A Brief Reasoning” series in which I use my knowledge and instinct in the form of a hasty stream of consciousness to draw conclusions on topics relating to conspiracy theories. If you would like me to briefly reason one of your favorite conspiracy theories, leave a request in the comments or send me an email!