Face recognition deals another blow at privacy

One of the most important trend at this year CES show was Artificial Intelligence. AI was everywhere and seemingly being incorporated into every product and security cameras provide a great example of what AI can do in the future.

Horizon robotics my face being recognized

At the booth of Horizon Robotics, a number of demonstrations highlighted that capability of cameras to track tens of people in real-time using AI enhanced hardware.

Horizon robotics face recognition

What was once possible only via offline cloud computing servers is now built into the cameras themselves. Thus one should expect future security cameras to include not only the video feed but also meta data about objects and people in the scene they are scanning. Of course, with the right kind of face database, it is possible to identify people by name, as is already the case in China today.

Videos at the end this post provide a glimpse into what is already possible today with those devices.

Still presented as early prototypes today, we can expect the capacity of these microchips to improve at an exponential rate, with a cost reduction that follows Moore’s law.


Horizon robotics object recognition hardware

Horizon robotics object recognition hardware

In that context, I predict that all future cameras will provide scene analysis metadata as part of their feed in even the most low end consumer devices such as personal cameras and cell phones. With it, applications that can identify people and things in real-time will surface into all the applications that we have today, from social media to office applications.

Also a great 5 minutes BBC report that shows how China 170M security cameras (with another 400M in 3 years) aims to monitor everyone’s movement.

Washington Post article and video that describes China massive surveillance system using 500M cameras (2020 estimates).

Farid Mheir