It is surely a long way from when Facebook first introduced the option to automatically tag people in photos uploaded to the social media platform, rather than users doing so. It seemed like a very cool new feature at the time, but now, facial recognition technology has grown by leaps and bounds, to the extent that there are now genuine fears about the potential to misuse it by tracking people literally everywhere. Nevertheless, the growing application of facial recognition in safety and law enforcement cannot be denied.
Technological advances in internet speeds, processor capabilities, artificial intelligence as well as in facial recognition technology itself have meant that it is quite remarkable as to how it can be used today. Already, we are seeing some innovative and pioneering uses of this technology, which could fundamentally change daily life if implemented on a global basis. For example, there are fast food outlets where facial recognition is replacing payment options. Customers can just look into a self-service screen to automate the withdrawal of funds from their linked bank accounts to pay their bills. This has even gone as far as the banks itself, where some of them are allowing customers to use facial recognition at all times instead of cards, at all times.
Elsewhere, the car manufacturer Subaru is making huge strides in road safety, by bringing through a facial recognition system in its Forester brand of SUVs. This system will detect when a driver is sleepy or tired and will take preventive action to ensure that an accident does not take place. The Tokyo Olympics 2020, postponed to next year, will reportedly have facial recognition systems rather than ID cards to boost security and allow access to competitors, media, and others as per their permitted level of access. Dubai Airport already has over 80 cameras with facial recognition technology which scans all visitors to identify criminals from their database.
These are just a few of the growing examples of how facial recognition is being implemented globally to improve security. At the same time, the casino industry is one that has arguably led the way in this regard, as there has always been a need for high security at these establishments, where people play games for money and the potential for fraud and theft is always high.
Earlier this year, over a hundred casino executives, analysts, and lawyers met in Las Vegas for a session on how to use AI, facial recognition, and machine learning in casinos to improve security as well as the user experience.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and facial recognition can be used in these establishments not just as a security measure, but also to enhance the customers’ experience. Slot machines equipped with cameras could quickly identify VIP players, allowing pit managers to direct service to them rapidly and also tailor their experience in the casino as per their preferences and wishes. At the same time, this can also identify those players who are banned from premises, thus improving security.
Another important implication of using this in casinos is to identify and help, if possible, those for whom gambling is a problem or addiction. Machine learning can be used to devise games specifically designed to identify problem gamblers, with the facial recognition tools than being used to quickly establish those who need immediate help, and the casino can then refer them to professional help for their problem.
Of course, this would need to be governed by the existing laws and regulations of the country where the casino is, and at present, most privacy laws make it necessary to get the customer’s permission before collecting and using their personal data, including biometric information. They would also need to be given the option to have that data erased completely from the casino’s systems if they so wish.