News & Opinion | June 5, 2018 11:01 am

Anti-Facial Recognition Artificial Intelligence Has Arrived

Researchers pioneer new ways to protect personal privacy in an era of ubiquitous surveillance.

A manager of China's leading new energy vehicle maker BYD tries the facial recognition for starting a "Yungui" train during the launching of the "Yungui" system, a driverless monorail transit system, in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Jan. 10, 2018.
(Xinhua/Wang Peng via Getty Images)
A manager of China's leading new energy vehicle maker BYD tries the facial recognition for starting a "Yungui" train during the launching of the "Yungui" system, a driverless monorail transit system, in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Jan. 10, 2018. (Xinhua/Wang Peng via Getty Images)
Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

With ever-intrusive, facial recognition technology becoming a ubiquitous presence in everyday life, a team of researchers at the University of Toronto created an anti-facial recognition algorithm designed to thwart the new technology.

According to a story on Alphr, the researchers pitted two AI systems against each other, one that identifies faces and one designed to disrupt identification, and let the two systems learn from each other. The anti-facial recognition technology attacks the points on the face that the detection software uses for identification, such as the corner of the eye.

The changes the software makes to the image of a face are barely perceptible, but they’re just enough to throw off detection. Lead professor Parham Aarabi has said that he hopes his anti-facial recognition technology can be a boon for personal privacy.