Trends, Foresights, & Insights: Never Miss, or Misread a Trend Again

A test by artificial intelligence firm Kneron revealed that 3D masks and photos can be used to fool facial recognition systems like those used by payment systems and airports.  “This shows the threat to the privacy of users with sub-par facial recognition that is masquerading as ‘AI,'” Kneron CEO Albert Liu said.  Masks and simple photographs are enough to fool some facial recognition technology, highlighting a major shortcoming in what is billed as a more effective security tool.  The test, by artificial intelligence company Kneron, involved visiting public locations and tricking facial recognition terminals into allowing payment or access.  Those systems, which resemble the ones seen in airports, use a person’s face rather than a PIN or a fingerprint to validate user’s identity.  Such masks, in theory, could allow fraudsters to use another person’s face—and bank account—to go shopping.  More alarming were the tests deployed at transportation hubs.  At the self-boarding terminal in Schiphol Airport, the Netherlands’ largest airport, the Kneron team tricked the sensor with just a photo on a phone screen.  The team also says it was able to gain access in this way to rail stations in China where commuters use facial recognition to pay their fare and board trains.


Lightbulb Moment: Learn about the limitation of AI and don’t be a blind follower.  In consumer research, AI has a huge “creep factor”.  AI can reinterpret the past but not actually predict the future.  Careful where you put your strategy eggs, don’t bank on a brittle technology.

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