Face ID

‘Your iPhone now recognises you’, said Apple design chief Sir Jony Ive at yesterday’s iPhone X launch, and he doesn’t just mean your fingerprint. And with that announcement, facial recognition just went mainstream. Initially, for Apple’s customers, this means automatically unlocking their phone and making secure payments. However, the possible applications of the technology are much broader. When we shop online, our identity is typically known (e.g. through logging into the browser, or cookies stored by the website), but the physical world doesn’t currently share the same advantage. For those that have seen the (ironically prescient) film ‘Minority Report’, facial recognition addresses this shortcoming in the form of shops that recognise you as you walk past, and target you with specific advertising. Meanwhile, facial recognition in the office environment could supercharge the potential of smart sensors for matters such as localisation, productivity tracking and security. This, it seems, is an area where technology is now running at a quicker pace than the inevitable regulation of privacy concerns.