General Intelligence

Facial Recognition Company Clear Is Going From Airports to Your Office

Plus, A.I. that detects drowsy drivers, algorithmic artists, and more A.I. news from the week

Dave Gershgorn
OneZero
Published in
4 min readMay 15, 2020

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Photo illustration. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Welcome to General Intelligence, OneZero’s weekly dive into the A.I. news and research that matters.

Up until a few months ago — when people still did things, traveled, and went to airports — you might have seen biometrics company Clear’s kiosks at airports or at stadiums, where, after a face or iris scan, you could skip the line in exchange for a hefty annual fee.

Now Clear wants to bring its technology to the wider world struggling with the coronavirus pandemic and install similar systems at the doors of reopened businesses and offices under a new initiative called Health Pass.

The system works like this: Using a Health Pass app, people have their identity validated through facial recognition, then they indicate whether they’re sick by taking a “real-time health quiz” and uploading test results. That would generate a QR code, which can be scanned by some device, like a phone or a Clear kiosk, to allow entry into an office or store within a certain time period.

“Health Pass by Clear gives employees and consumers the confidence and peace of mind to get back to work, shop at their favorite store, step into a restaurant and attend a ball game,” the company wrote on its website this week.

The idea is similar to immunity passports, a concept OneZero reporter Emily Mullin described as “the get-out-jail-free card that many Americans so desperately want,” but which “could also create more uncertainty and risks for the people they are meant to help most.”

With limited testing capabilities and no plan on how to reopen the country safely, U.S. businesses now rely on imperfect technologies like thermal imaging and fever detection to keep people working while limiting the spread of the…

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Dave Gershgorn
OneZero

Senior Writer at OneZero covering surveillance, facial recognition, DIY tech, and artificial intelligence. Previously: Qz, PopSci, and NYTimes.