back to article China is now 99.8% sure you're you, thanks to world's-best facial recognition wares

Chinese researchers have developed a facial recognition system that can pick faces from a crowd with 99.8 percent accuracy from 91 angles. The platform can distinguish between identical twins, unravel layers of makeup and still identify an individual if they've packed on or shed kilos. Researcher Zhou Xi of the Chinese …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It was trained against a database sporting 50 million Chinese faces"

    I guess this disproves that they all look alike.

    1. DropBear
      Joke

      "It was trained against a database sporting 50 million Chinese faces"

      That many?!? That must be a significant portion of all Chinese people in existence, perhaps even as much as 0.000001% !

    2. JetSetJim

      Chinese training...

      So, it's trained on Chinese faces, does it work as well on other nationalities, or would it need extra training?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I guess this disproves that they all look alike.

      Unless the question was:

      "What Country has this person come from"

  2. as2003

    "...from 91 angles."

    Huh?

    91 angles between 0 and 1deg? 91 angles between 0 and 180deg?

    1. Old Handle

      Re: "...from 91 angles."

      Plus, if it has to be at an exact angle, even one of 91, the odds of it working are infinitesimal.

      Best guess what that was supposed to mean is -45° to 45°, i.e. a 90° arc in the front. But maybe they're considering more than one axis (i.e. pitch and/or roll as well as yaw), in witch case it becomes totally mysterious again.

      1. Cliff

        Re: "...from 91 angles."

        I guess a dynamic image stands a decent chance of passing through one of those angles at some point. Point the system at a peaceful prot^H^H^H^H airport immigration queue and limit the natural angles people will pass through

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "...from 91 angles."

          Not much need to limit the angles - just put the right kind of little flashing lights on the cameras and people will naturally tend to look/glance at the swooshy lights at least once (e.g. as seen at Gatwick recently). Anyone not looking is very likely making a concerted effort to repress their natural instincts, thus making them appear somewhat suspicious.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "...from 91 angles."

            > Anyone not looking is very likely making a concerted effort to repress their natural instincts,

            Or blind.

            Or totally absorbed in their phone conversation.

            1. Cliff

              Re: "...from 91 angles."

              I've no need work letting blind people into the country, but anyone so absorbed in their phone conversation in a public place needs pulling up on it for sure.

            2. Joe User
              Facepalm

              Re: "...from 91 angles."

              > Or blind.

              > Or totally absorbed in their phone conversation.

              Or texting, right before they trip over a low wall and fall into a fountain:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeVn6_iwtJQ

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "...from 91 angles."

        91 angles obviously means in multiple axes, because even if the camera was always "head height", not everyone's head is at the same height.

    2. Shaha Alam
      Big Brother

      Re: "...from 91 angles."

      it works in all the angles we need it to work.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Charles 9 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Begging one's pardon, but given the definition of "identical", one would think that monozygotic twins are physically indistinguishable from each other barring personal choices of hairstyle, makeup, etc. But if they wear their hair and makeup the same way, their faces should be nigh-impossible to tell apart. Otherwise, they're not identical, eh?

    1. DocJames
      Stop

      Identical twins are not identical

      Shock news!

      It's not just to do with how they wear their hair etc. There are constant changes in environment, causing trauma and (more frequently) genes to be switched on (or off). This leads to the differences that allow identical twins to be distinguished by those who know them well.

      Favourite fact regarding foetal alcohol syndrome: identical twins can be born with one suffering FAS and the other not. You'd have thought one womb would be as close to an identical environment as possible, but no...

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Identical twins are not identical

        "Favourite fact regarding foetal alcohol syndrome: identical twins can be born with one suffering FAS and the other not. You'd have thought one womb would be as close to an identical environment as possible, but no..."

        IINM FAS is epigenetic and so can be a crapshoot. Fingerprints are epigenetic, too, that's why fingerprints differ even among identical twins. There's a hypothesis that it's the same way with sexual orientation. Thus why some identical twins diverge in spite of identical genes and upbringing.

        1. DocJames

          Re: Identical twins are not identical

          Epigenetic variation of course require some cause. This is the (tiny, indistinguishable) differences in environment.

          Identical environments are only identical at a macroscopic level. We never thought this was important (actually, probably never thought about it is more accurate) prior to realising that genetic regulation happens.

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Identical twins can be a reflection of each other, something to do with when in gestation the zygote splits.

      1. Bucky 2
        Trollface

        @Trigonoceps occipitalis:

        This is why one twin is always the good twin, and the other one is always the evil twin.

  4. dan1980

    "The systems already in place at arrival points work by matching Aussie or Kiwi passports against a stored photo and dramatically cut down on Customs wait times, much to this correspondent's delight."

    No, it's in place at immigration; you still have to go through the much longer wait to speak to the nice customs officials. 1.5 hours for that last time. Shudder.

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      "The systems already in place ... dramatically cut down on [immigration] wait times, much to this correspondent's delight."

      Not that I'd noticed. Rather the opposite. Immigration wait times are noticebly longer now than they were back when immigration used to just look at your face, and at your passport, and then stamp the passport.

      1. Jason 24

        Had this at Stansted recently...

        5 of us coming back, 1 didn't have a chip in his passport so I went went and stood with him in the longer queue for pictures only, and we beat the other 3 lads out who went for the "fast" track.

        1. JetSetJim

          Re: Had this at Stansted recently...

          Perhaps he didn't phrase it correctly - "dramatically cut down on Customs wait times - now that some folks with the biometric passports get stuck in the automatic-immigration queue where someone invariably hasn't read the pre-conditions for using that queue and cannot use the machine for whatever reason, thus reducing the main queue-size to see a fleshy customs operative"

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Triple punishment

    I can see it here.

    After use of the latest technology, extensive police investigation and brave witness testimony, we have identified him from biometric data and DNA, we are 100% sure he is the one responsible for a range of misdemeanour’s.

    He has been proven guilty in a court of law and now waits his punishment.

    Mr Blogs as you are an illegal immigrant who is working in the dark economy paying no taxes and observing no laws I am forced to pass on you the highest penalty open to this court.

    Tsk, tsk ,tsk!

    Now on your way.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile

    Immigration via illegal means remains rampant and unchecked.

    But yeah - blow millions to check the faces of mums and dads heading back from Spain on Easyjet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile

      > Immigration via illegal means remains rampant and unchecked.

      And the problem is?

  7. MrXavia
    Thumb Up

    Thumbs up to the technology, very impressive work, if it works as described but I wonder if it is as accurate as they say though, trained with 50million chinese? try it with non-chinese people and see if it works?

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Big Brother

    "help from the University of Illinois"

    Is that legal under US law?

    And that figure is impressive (I though facial recog got about 50% right in US casinos, which was why the FBI dumped it's facial recog project after decades).

    So 99.8% accurate.

    Only 100 000 people being mis identifed then.

    Not to worry. A little trip to the Miistry of Love will show they are guilty of something.

  9. Paul Leigh
    Big Brother

    Slippery Slope

    Gattaca here we come.

  10. Truth4u

    Technology narrows and controls human behaviour

    Companies like Amazon and Google will be able to follow you around everywhere you go. It's so insidious that you won't even know all your search results are related to things Google & Amazon know you saw subconsciously during the day.

  11. Test Man

    Minority Report... gets closer...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    The real test

    But how effective is it with people who deliberately, and skillfully, change their appearance to confuse it?

    Otherwise it is really just a nice toy, useful for targetted ads and making immigration ministers feel good about themselves, but hardly secure.

    1. Truth4u

      Re: The real test

      Yeah but then you become "a disguised person", the most dodgiest kind of person. It might even trigger the independent thought alarm.

      1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: The real test

        Yeah but then you become "a disguised person", the most dodgiest kind of person. It might even trigger the independent thought alarm.

        Eventually the database will get so big, that any adult not immediately recognised will be deemed someone up to no good and will flag an alert.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    So now it's really working, finally...

    Time to point out that the folks that claimed that this technology was working reliably about 15 years ago were lying.

    JeffyPooh's Law: Any idiotic fanboy false claims about the capabilities of some newfangled technology eventually becomes true. But they're still liars at the time.

    1. Bucky 2

      Re: So now it's really working, finally...

      Time to point out that the folks that claimed that this technology was working reliably about 15 years ago were lying.

      You just reminded me that "verified by Chinese scientists" frequently means that the science is wrong.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But...

    Can it scan faces through a burka...? That is surely the benchmark...

    Also if I were to be Michael Myers would it detect me as William Shatner?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But...

      "Can it scan faces through a burka...? That is surely the benchmark..."

      Probably if their records contain enough details about eyes (the one part of the face that remains visible even with a burqa). And anything that covers more than a burqa would probably be flagged as suspicious just for that reason.

  15. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Coat

    One question

    Can we smile again in our ID photos then ?

    1. Sporkinum

      Re: One question

      Last time I renewed my license, I purposely scowled. My pic looks like I murdered someone.

  16. Richard Altmann

    missed the point

    "The systems already in place at arrival points work by matching Aussie or Kiwi passports against a stored photo and dramatically cut down on Customs wait times, much to this correspondent's delight. ®"

    Since 9/11 the gouvernments of the world have a carte blanche in introducing ever finest methods of infiltrating the privacy of their people in the name of "War Against Terrorism". 9/11 is just such a sweet cover up for what every governement wants: Total control of their people. The Londoners don´t mind being observed by every step they take in the City. "I´ve nothing to hide, so i don´t mind" ... giving my privacy away. Only ... the world has been changed by NSA and their fellows. One is a suspect of everything bad until ... well, one cannot proof oneself not guilty of anything anymore. To Whom? One is guilty per se. The very moment my daughter passed the airport scan she has become a suspect for life, whatever about. She ever will be. But Hey! It " cut down on Customs wait times" . Al Qauida and NSA: One , Rest of the World: Nil

  17. Fungus Bob
    Coat

    "a database sporting 50 million Chinese faces"

    And an hour later it gets hungry again...

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022