Facial recognition, completely unmonitored, can be used for very bad things. It can be used for stalking, for example.”

Eric Schmidt, Businessman

Pros and Cons of Facial Recognition

advantages and disadvantages of facial recognition

The technology of facial recognition has become quite popular over the past decade. It can be used for a variety of different purposes and can make our life more convenient and also safer.

Apart from the many advantages of facial recognition, there are also some issues related to this technology. Various pros and cons of facial recognition are shown in the following.

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Advantages of Facial Recognition

  1. Facial recognition can be used to unlock devices
  2. Can be used at airports
  3. Machine learning & AI will help to improve and expand facial recognition
  4. Can help us to improve our overall safety levels
  5. Facial recognition may be a good measure to avoid the spread of diseases
  6. May help to protect important infrastructure
  7. Facial recognition can help to make processes more efficient
  8. May help to identify fake passports
  9. Harder to hide for criminals
  10. Can prevent all kinds of fraud

Facial recognition can be used to unlock devices

One advantage of facial recognition is that it can be used to unlock our electronic devices. Even though it is still not widely used, it will become quite common to unlock our smartphones or computer by just taking a look at the camera.

Imagine you do no longer have to remember your PIN, you can just have a look at your screen and you are good to go. This would be quite convenient, wouldn’t it?!

Can be used at airports

Facial recognition is also a quite important tool when it comes to controlling people at our airports. Quite often, huge numbers of people have to be supervised at the same time and through the use of intelligent technology like facial recognition, machines can do much of the work for which numerous employees would be needed otherwise.

Hence, facial recognition also enables us to work in a more convenient manner since more unpleasant work can be done by cameras and computers.

Machine learning & AI will help to improve and expand facial recognition

In our current state of the world, we are quite lucky since machine learning and artificial intelligence can really make our lives much easier in the future. These technologies also help facial recognition since cameras will be better able to identify people over time through self-learning processes. Hence, facial recognition will also become much better over time and can significantly help us in several parts of our life.

Can help us to improve our overall safety levels

Another benefit of facial recognition is that it can also help us to improve the overall safety level across the globe. Thieves and other criminals will think twice before engaging in unlawful activities since they know that the chances of being caught significantly increase with proper facial recognition technology in place.

Consequently, the incentives to commit crimes are much lower if facial recognition is implemented since people know that the risk of being caught and sentenced is much higher as well.

Facial recognition may be a good measure to avoid the spread of diseases

Through facial recognition, we can also avoid the spread of diseases. Facial recognition works solely by looking at a camera and does not require us to physically touch devices anymore.

Hence, the chances to catch the flu or other diseases can be lowered, which can not only benefit ourselves, but also the economy as a whole since the GDP may increase due to that.

May help to protect important infrastructure

Facial recognition can also help us to protect our important infrastructure from getting attacked. For instance, power plants and other crucial devices can be equipped with facial recognition technology and the chances for criminals to attack these sorts of important infrastructure and to get away with it will also be much lower.

This is not only true for power plants, but also for many other important buildings which have to be protected at all costs.

Facial recognition can help to make processes more efficient

In general, facial recognition is a technology that can also greatly help us to make many processes much more efficient. For instance, if you are at the airport, you will often have to wait for a quite long time until your passport and other documents are checked. However, those processes could be significantly facilitated by using advanced facial recognition techniques.

Thus, in the future, chances are that many processes will become much more efficient thanks to facial recognition, which can save us plenty of time in the long run.

May help to identify fake passports

If the technology of facial recognition becomes advanced enough in the future, it might also be able to detect fake passports. Even in our current state of the world, there are people out there who fake passports in quite a good quality and many police officers and other officials will not even realize that they are fake when they have a look at those passports.

Hence, facial recognition can also help us to deal with the fake passport issue, which is quite prevalent all over the world.

Harder to hide for criminals

Another upside of facial recognition technology is that it will be much harder for criminals to hide once they are on the wanted list. Even if they try to migrate to remote countries of our planet, cameras will catch their faces sooner or later and if those photos are matched with an international database, chances are that criminals will be caught quite fast and will have nowhere to hide in the near future thanks to this technology

Can prevent all kinds of fraud

Facial recognition may also help to prevent fraud of many different sorts. For instance, if you will be able to use facial recognition technologies for your credit card payments, chances are that it will become much harder for criminals to use your credit card information since they will still not have your face and therefore, you may be able to protect against several sorts of fraud in the near future due to using facial recognition.

Problems of Facial Recognition

  1. Privacy concerns related to facial recognition
  2. Facial recognition can be expensive
  3. Can take away freedom and fun from people
  4. Can be misused by governments
  5. Sensitive data may get stolen by hackers
  6. Technology is not mature yet
  7. Rules and regulations against facial recognition in some regions
  8. Storage of data can be problematic
  9. Excessive reliance on facial recognition can be dangerous
  10. General public may not accept this technology
  11. Facial recognition can lead to higher unemployment rates

Privacy concerns related to facial recognition

Apart from the various advantages of facial recognition, there are also some problems related to this technology. One disadvantage of facial recognition is that this technology also raises serious privacy concerns. Our data has to be collected, processed and stored somehow in order to make facial recognition as efficient as possible.

However, this also implies that personal data is collected from people and nobody will be able to see for what purposes this data will be used for. Hence, opponents of facial recognition often claim that this technology cannot be justified from a general privacy perspective since we don’t know what happens with our data.

Facial recognition can be expensive

It can also be quite costly to implement facial recognition technology on a large scale. In fact, not only the cameras can be quite expensive, also plenty of computers and servers have to be used and people are needed to maintain those servers and to develop facial recognition technology even further. Hence, this sort of technology also implies significant costs, which have to be borne by the taxpayer.

Can take away freedom and fun from people

Another problem with facial recognition is that it also takes away a significant level of freedom of people. If you are in public, you will always have to fear that a camera is watching you right now and this feeling of being observed may take away plenty of fun of people.

Can be misused by governments

Even though the technology of facial recognition can be used for many senseful purposes, it can also be greatly misused by governments all over the world. For instance, imagine you live in a country that is governed by a dictator.

In such a case, the dictator would be quite happy to use facial recognition technology in order to keep control over the country and to identify unwanted people who may be sent to jail.

Hence, in the wrong hands, facial recognition can be a powerful tool to do much more harm than good.

Sensitive data may get stolen by hackers

Another issue of facial recognition is that sensitive data might get stolen by hackers. We often hear in the media that servers got hacked and millions of user data had been stolen. This data will often contain sensitive information and if it falls into wrong hands, chances are that nothing good will happen.

Technology is not mature yet

Although it has become much better over the past decade, facial recognition is still not mature yet and therefore, it may take a few more years or even decades until the technology behind facial recognition will be fully optimized. Hence, there might be other technologies that work better until facial recognition is fully operational.

Rules and regulations against facial recognition in some regions

People in many states have also already sued governments that used facial recognition technology. In many cases, people had been successful and facial recognition is no longer allowed in those regions.

Thus, also the expansion of facial recognition technology will be greatly slowed down by lawsuits and therefore, it might take a quite long time until this kind of technology can really move humanity forward.

Storage of data can be problematic

Also the storage of our personal data can be quite problematic. There are many different regulations in place regarding the proper storage and processing of data.

Those regulations greatly differ across countries and it will likely not be able to create a global database since those databases will not comply with all regulations across the globe.

Hence, even though facial recognition could work in theory, there are many practical data-driven issues related to this concept.

Excessive reliance on facial recognition can be dangerous

It can also become quite dangerous solely to rely on facial recognition as the main technology to ensure our safety. Yes, it is a quite promising technology, yet we should have some backup plan in case facial recognition will not be successful for various reasons and problems that might occur in the future.

General public may not accept this technology

The general public is often also quite skeptical regarding facial technology. People often just don’t want to be observed by cameras when they are in public. Therefore, the local population may also not accept facial recognition and may protest for the abandonment of this sort of technology.

Facial recognition can lead to higher unemployment rates

Since facial recognition can help to automize processes and to make processes much more efficient, chances are that less manual work will be needed in the future and therefore, many people will lose their jobs in the long run. In turn, unemployment rates may also increase significantly due to the implementation of facial recognition systems.

Top 10 Facial Recognition Pros & Cons – Summary List

Facial Recognition ProsFacial Recognition Cons
Facial recognition can help to improve safetyFacial recognition may imply privacy concerns
Can unlock our electronic devicesMany people don’t want this technology
Can help to detect fake passportsMay be forbidden by law in some regions
Facial recognition may help to monitor airportsCan be misused if it falls into the wrong hands
May be greatly improved through the use of AIFacial recognition can be dangerous
Can help to avoid the spread of diseasesData regulations differ across countries
Can help to protect important infrastructureReliance on facial recognition may be dangerous
It gets harder for criminals to hideCan lead to higher unemployment
May be able to prevent fraudFacial recognition technology is not mature yet
Facial recognition may improve efficiencyHackers may steal personal data

Should We Use Facial Recognition?

There is no doubt that facial recognition has many important advantages. Yet, in my opinion, our privacy and our freedom are quite important goods and I am not keen to trade those goods for a little bit more safety and convenience.

Hence, in my opinion, facial recognition should not be used on a large scale since it is simply too dangerous and can be easily misused by people with bad intentions.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facial_recognition_system

https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/markets/digital-identity-and-security/government/biometrics/facial-recognition

https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-iot-how-facial-recognition-software-works.html

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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