We live in a time of incredible technology where the world is at your fingertips. Anything you need to do to operate in our advanced world is right there on your phone. Amazing as this is, it can pose some serious security risks if you’re banking or trading stocks right there on your phone. If you have a password keeper that can be viewed once someone gains access to your phone, you might be in some big trouble. Identity theft is a real crime and in 2019, 14.4 million people were its victims. So how are tech companies helping consumers combat this real threat? Facial recognition is one way. We know what you’re thinking - a facelift purposely alters the appearance of the face. How will that affect facial recognition on my phone? What about all of the other applications of the technology? Let’s explore.
The Many Applications of Facial Recognition Technology
We are now seeing facial recognition software in many different sectors for several different applications. Retail stores use it to instantly recognize customers and present personalized offers. By identifying emotions, facial expressions and features, advertisers can target consumers for carefully tailored ads based on these parameters. We are seeing facial recognition software in healthcare as a diagnostic tool to identify a rare genetic condition called Hajdu-Cheney syndrome. It is also being explored as a tool for those on the autistic spectrum to identify emotions in social situations. And as an added layer of security, some ATMs in Macau, China require customers to stare into a camera for six seconds to confirm the identity of an account holder. The varied applications of facial recognition software is pretty astounding.
How Does Facial Recognition Work?
Facial recognition is based on biometrics. Unlike comparing a 2D photo to your face, recognition technology uses multiple points called nodes to create a 3D map of your face. (The iPhone X, for instance, uses 7 sensors and 30,000 infrared dots for mapping and comparison.) Some of the measurements that make each face unique include:
Length of jawline
Distance between eyes
Depth of eye sockets
These measurements are then compared to any number of face databases (yes, they exist - the implications of privacy are beyond the scope of this blog, however) to identify that particular face. The technology is designed to account for certain universal variations – for example, your exact pose or expression, lighting levels, and aging. It works even if you grow a mustache, if you’ve developed a few more wrinkles, if your acne has flared up, if you have dark circles under your eyes, or if your skin is starting to sag. For example, if the iPhone X detects any of these changes, it automatically takes a new scan of your face to use for future comparison. So it continually adapts to your “new normal.” However, a facelift can make more dramatic changes that confuse the system – depending on the extent of the facelift.
Can a Facelift Trick Facial Recognition Software?
The short answer is that it has. China seems to be the hub of facial recognition software as the country has embraced the use of cameras and the advanced technology. Many daily activities rely on facial recognition so when one woman in Eastern China underwent an extensive rhinoplasty surgery and was unrecognizable to the software, her life was severely disrupted. It is true that a nose job can alter your face much more drastically than a mini-facelift or a neck lift. There may be more risk with a full MACS facelift, but less with just some dermal fillers. Brow lifts, cheek or chin implants, lip augmentations - these are all designed to make you look different, right? Yes. That’s true! But keep in mind that plastic surgery today, especially at Raval Facial Aesthetics, is meant to have much more subtle and natural results than ever before. Dr. Raval’s motto, “less is more,” is particularly poignant here.
Should I Proceed with My Facelift?
Absolutely. The truth is, we really don’t have clear answers about the extent to which altering your face, even just slightly, will disrupt facial recognition software. One thing we do know: with the rapidly rising popularity of facial enhancement procedures, including facelifts, software developers are hard at work creating smarter facial recognition technology that can identify the “real you,” even though you’ve made significant changes to your face.
So don’t let your phone or your passport get in the way of making the facial enhancements you’ve been dreaming of. Heck, even if your phone doesn’t recognize you, just use your password, and if you have it, your iPhone X will capture a new map to use going forward.