Online face recognition: Face recognition with the help of AI
Identifying a face in images and videos is a standard task for artificial intelligence systems. Algorithms for online face recognition are trained based on millions of images obtained from the Internet and achieve increasingly reliable results. This not only applies to the assignment of image data to a specific person, but also to facial mood recognition and other relevant information for a wide range of applications.
Areas of application for online face recognition
There are numerous areas of application for online face recognition:
- Automated annotation of image files with meta-data for the systematic sorting of large data sets.
- Face recognition for access-sensitive areas.
- Authentication of mobile devices with the built-in camera.
A further example of the usefulness of face recognition are mobile banking tools. In developing countries, the Aella Credit finance company provides simple identity verification for customers which functions without human intervention. This opens up the financial market to groups of people for whom it was previously inaccessible.
Online facial recognition is also a valid method for sensitive areas with access restrictions. Not only can existing systems compare image data of people with access rights, but in some cases they can also predict intentions based on typical features. AI systems for online face recognition can identify
- whether the eyes are open or closed,
- the visual geometry of a face,
- the state of mind,
- and the approximate age of a person.
How does online face recognition work?
The human face is not static, it changes constantly. This variability of appearance is the most challenging aspect of automatic face recognition. In addition, some images are taken from different positions under constantly changing lighting conditions. People also have different hairstyles at different times – they wear makeup, glasses or hats.
An online face recognition program must therefore apply filters to identify the key recognition features. With deep learning, systems learn to make these distinctions on their own with the help of large amounts of data from the Internet. To achieve this, the systems work primarily with the recognition of patterns. The more data used to train them, and the higher quality that data is, the better the results of the AI algorithms.
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Face recognition optimization
Image recognition is now the main area of application for AI training in neural networks. Here, facial recognition plays a special role. Given the issues that artificial intelligence already has in classifying simple objects, it is clear that matching faces, which are often only minimally different, is particularly difficult. Furthermore, AI systems are susceptible to attack by cybercriminals. Even small changes to images can be used to provoke false results.
However, there are several ways to address these issues:
- Explainable AI exposes the structures that neural networks use as discriminators. This allows the rapid correction of potentially erroneous internal operations.
- Images specifically designed for cyber attacks are already being used in the training of AI systems. This helps detect corrupted image files more quickly.
- Training images should show faces from as many different positions as possible and also in unusual situations.
Many companies use the possibilities of crowdworking to create image files for training purposes. This provides them with customized AI training data files that are tailored to their purposes within a short period of time.
Is online face recognition reliable?
The result of online face recognition is a probability value. Matching a person with an image is therefore only more or less reliable. However, the advantage of a machine-based similarity comparison is not only the fact that a program will usually provide the probability value at the same time. Research has shown that modern face recognition technologies are superior to the human eye. Google’s neural network Face Net, for example, achieves a hit rate of over 99 percent.
Various features determine the individuality of a face. These include the geometry of a face – i.e. the relationship between the eyes, the nose, the forehead and the mouth. A system designed to highlight similarities between a specific image and existing image data works with these key facial elements. The information regarding a person’s identity is superfluous as long as only similarities are searched for.
It is clear that automatic systems always provide only a probability value regarding matches, similarities or differences. Depending on the areas of application, the user of the program can then select a similarity threshold that is sufficient for the purpose at hand. In the public safety sector, a threshold of 99 percent is preferred, while a simple online image search is practical with a match probability as low as 95 percent.
Summary – online face recognition
Online face recognition using artificial intelligence offers numerous potential applications. However, the danger lies in using these automatic methods as an autonomous tool. Whenever personality rights are affected, additional human analysis must therefore be granted. In most areas, however, online face recognition is a powerful tool designed to make tasks easier and more efficient.