Ever since the rising popularity of the iPhone and the constant use of social networks such as Facebook becoming commonplace all over the globe, our world has seen a huge amount of changes when it comes to technology. Siri’s answering questions all the time, and many users have started combining everyday household activities with the AI solutions provided by technology like Alexa. Amazon’s even opened up a supermarket that has no checkouts, which feels like something pulled out straight out of a science fiction film. Suddenly, the future is here.

One of the newest innovations becoming commonplace, especially now in 2019, is facial recognition technology. In the past, there were suspicions about this kind of technology; after all, there’s something a bit strange about knowing that you could walk into any store and be recognized. But Americans are now getting used to the idea of real time face recognition and its applications. This is for two reasons: because they understand what it is and how it works–and how many potential benefits this technology has.

Considering that the iPhone X, which uses this technology, was the top-selling iPhone in the first and second quarters of 2018, it’s no surprise it’s becoming so popular.

What is Facial Recognition Technology?

Facial recognition technology has been around for a while, but it’s only now becoming a part of everyday life in the same way that getting Instagram followers is part of modern business. According to Norton, it works like this:

“A facial recognition system uses biometrics to map facial features from a photograph or video. It compares the information with a database of known faces to find a match…The facial recognition market is expected to grow to $7.7 billion in 2022 from $4 billion in 2017. That’s because facial recognition has all kinds of commercial applications. It can be used for everything from surveillance to marketing.”

Words such as “database” and “surveillance” are words that, most likely, made the general American public nervous when this technology started to be used. After all, privacy is important, and we’ve learned that to be true even more so with the dangers of hacking and identity theft. But when stop to think about all the regulations that will be applied to facial recognition technology, alongside its huge benefits, it’s easier to stop being scared of this technology. After all, we use Facebook and Instagram all the time, which allow these companies to collect huge amounts of data on us. Simply being on a database of faces to make the justice system work better, or make it harder for people with bad intentions to hack into where our data is stored, is actually a good idea.

Security Benefits

Security is one of the most important benefits of facial recognition technology. Even now, the smartphones where we carry sensitive information, such as confidential emails and bank information, are easy to hack. By using facial recognition technology, only the actual owner of the phone can unlock it. In addition to being safer, this is also way easier to use than using your fingerprint (which can be easily stolen from a glass where you’ve pressed your finger at dinner) or putting in a code that someone can see you put in in front of them.

And it works on a larger scale, too. If there’s a theft at a store, and there’s a database of people who have already committed crimes available, it will simplify the process of catching them. A store clerk can be alerted beforehand about the heightened risk when a criminal comes in. Because this is such an effective technology, it also means cutting costs of hiring too many security personnel for small brick-and-mortar businesses.

Full automation benefits

Another reason facial recognition technology is great is that it’s so easy to implement. Even though it’s high-tech, businesses can start using it right away. If you buy a new iPhone X, it just takes a little practice, but in no time it’ll feel easier than any of the other unlock features you’ve used in the past. It’s no surprise, considering this, that the Facial Recognition Market is expected to garner $9.6 billion by 2022. Because it’s so easy, it will start to be used by many different sectors as it becomes more popular.

The fact is: what may have seemed at first to be something straight out of a scary sci-fi film is now becoming part of our everyday life. Just like so many things that have become commonplace that once seemed strange, from sharing apps like Uber and using 3G instead of wifi on our phones, facial recognition technology will be soon viewed by all Americans as a positive technology we can use to our advantage.

What do you think is the best benefit of using facial recognition technology?