Facial recognition software really is a thing, and we'll see a lot more of it in the next couple of years. It has absolutely huge implications that I can't even work through myself at the moment, but let's see what we've got already. The first of two tools that I'm going to look at is the 'Celebrity model' site. The idea behind this is... well, let them tell it. I quote: "The 'Celebrity' model analyzes images and returns probability scores on the likelihood that the media contains the face(s) of over 10,000 recognized celebrities. This model is great for anyone building an app that relies on celebrity comparisons." So you could, I suppose, throw photographs at it and see if any of them turn out to be a celebrity. That's great if you're photographing people on a red carpet and have no idea if the person you've snapped is a real celebrity, hanger on, member of staff or whatever. The example that they gave was a full face image of the actor Morgan Freeman, and their software said that it thought it was him with a probability of 99.1% which I think is pretty good. Of course, they're going to use a good example, and not everyone is going to be face on in an image, but nonetheless. However, what's intriguing is that you can provide them with your own photograph and it will try and work out which celebrity you look most like. Just upload a picture and it instantly comes back with a response. Here's mine:
It seems to think that I look a bit like Jeff Bezos, and it's got a probability of 3%. This is actually good, because clearly I'm not, but the photographs do show a reasonable similarity, yet the recognition package knows I'm not him. That's interesting enough, but I hadn't even noticed a photograph of a woman in the background - I was at the opticians checking out new glasses and yet the package saw another face and reckons there's a 17% chance it's a model who I have never heard of, but I got a picture of her in a similar pose, and I can work out why it thinks it's her.
The second recognition package, which I'm NOT going to screenshot is from a website called Mega cams at https://megacams.me/. I am NOT linking directly to this - you can cut and paste if you want, but as a word of warning, this is an adult webcam chat site with very adult imagery from the outset. People in various stages of undress will chat and well... you can work out the rest yourself. What you can do here is as they put it 'find your live sex doppelganger'. The idea, which is tacky in the extreme is to upload an image of your partner, ex, someone you fancy etc and see if you can find one of their webcam models who looks similar. Again, you can guess the rest. I tried it a couple of times and I have to say it's good. By which I mean it's accurate. The pictures of the webcam models that it returned did, with a slight stretch of the imagination, look like the people whose pictures I uploaded.
This stuff is obviously still at a very early stage, but I have to say that it's scarily accurate and will only get more so in the next few years. Take a photograph of people in a crowd, run it through one of these and if the software can link to Facebook profiles you're going to have a fairly good chance of seeing who those people are. There's a whole world of mis-use there. People search is going to get much more interesting in the coming few years!