Facial recognition is almost perfectly accurate — here's why that could be a problem


Michelle Yan: How does my iPhone know that’s me? And how does Facebook know that’s me? And why is Facebook always asking if I want to tag myself in these photos? Well, both are using facial recognition technology. So what’s going on?

Facial recognition is not a new thing. It was pretty simple. People would use a ruler to take measurements of your facial features, like how long your eyebrows are, the position of your eyes, the curve of your lips, and so forth. Today, the process is much faster.

WonSook Lee: Now, we use more like deep learning-based method, which raised the recognition even higher than humans can do. So almost perfect.

Michelle Yan: That’s WonSook Lee, a professor in the school of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Ottawa. She has 15 years of expertise in facial recognition, facial modeling, and computer animation. Wait, did she just say the accuracy rate of facial recognition is almost perfect?

WonSook Lee: So almost perfect.

Michelle Yan: Almost perfect? There are all these headlines about facial recognition being racist or having preprogrammed biases. Why was Amazon’s “Rekognition” misidentifying dark-skinned women but identifying white men?

WonSook Lee: That’s basically