Human faces evolved to be highly distinctive; it’s helpful to be able to recognize individual members of one’s social group and quickly identify strangers, and that hasn’t changed for hundreds of thousands of years. Then in just the past five years, the meaning of the human face has quietly but seismically shifted. That’s because researchers at Facebook, Google, and other institutions have nearly perfected techniques for automated facial recognition.
The result of that research is that your face isn’t just a unique part of your body anymore, it’s biometric data that can be copied an infinite number of times and stored forever. In this video, we explain how facial recognition technology works, where it came from, and what’s at stake.