Biometrics allow a person to be identified and authenticated based on unique, specific and recognizable data. You’re probably picturing a scene from Mission Impossible or Rick and Morty, right? Full of lasers, trap doors, and facial recognition systems. In reality however, the history of Biometrics is quite different, starting with a simple bit of paper and ink. As far back as 200 B.C., the Chinese emperor ‘Ts'In She’ was authenticating specific seals with a fingerprint. And Biometric identification within policing only started being used towards the end of the 19th century.
Did you know that there are about 30 minutiae (specific points) in a fingerprint scan? The FBI found that no two individuals can share more than eight minutiae. As biometric apps require real-time decisions, computing efficiency is critical to their success. Facial recognition however, is more natural and does not require any contact from the individual. Since 1200 million electronic passports are now in circulation, the success rate of facial recognition at international borders is only increasing. Algorithms developed by Artificial Intelligence are only getting more accurate and sophisticated. A NIST study found that the failure rate was 4% in 2014, however, in 2020 their tests showed the best algorithm’s failure rate to be only 0.08%. We’ll soon be wearing masks that project other people’s faces onto them, I can hardly wait.