If you want to see what the future of facial recognition looks like, go to your local airport.
Instead of asking to see your boarding pass when stepping onto an international flight, airline attendants ask you to direct your face toward a camera. After a moment, your name appears on a screen with a little green check mark. Cameras scan your face when you approach the border agent when entering or leaving the country. At airports, more than any other public spaces today, facial recognition technology has become pervasive and inescapable.
Airports have a long track record as security tech testing grounds.
Facial recognition systems in airports are used to verify the identities of travelers. The Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) run captured images against a database containing some travelers’ faces to verify citizens and visa holders entering and exiting the country. Private companies use facial recognition in airports too: American Airlines, Delta, United, and JetBlue are all either testing or expanding their use of the technology this year to start to replace boarding passes. These airlines account for more than half of all U.S. air travel, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
As facial recognition becomes the gold standard for security at airports, the technology will spread to baseball stadiums, convenience stores, schools, and workplaces.
Airports have a long track record as security tech testing grounds. Metal detectors and X-ray machines were introduced in airports in the 1970s after a spate of plane hijackings; after 9/11, that level of security trickled down to venues, government offices, and even schools, where students pass through metal detectors and have their backpacks scanned with X-ray machines. In 2015, Major League Baseball made metal detectors mandatory in all of their stadiums.
As we acclimate to the procedures of facial recognition, the technology will become mundane. The same way that…