Facial blindness is a rare syndrome in humans, but very common among organizations
By Moshe Ofry, VP Engineering, Oosto
Prosopagnosia has become famous recently following Brad Pitt’s confession that he suffers from the syndrome. Facial blindness is very common among companies and government organizations, some of which deal with it successfully through Vision AI tech.
Earlier this month Brad Pitt was interviewed by GQ magazine and stated he suffers from a cognitive syndrome that causes “facial blindness” called prosopagnosia. In face-to-face meetings, the actor often fails to identify people who were supposed to be familiar to him, which causes him great embarrassment. According to the U.K.’s National Health Services, one in 50 people has developmental face blindness, meaning they never developed the ability to recall or distinguish between faces, with no known damage to the brain. One can acquire also face blindness through injury. While facial blindness is a rare syndrome in humans, it is very common among organizations. Among companies and business organizations, however, real-time video analysis and its translation into actionable actions is regularly performed in less than 1% of commercial spaces, but this rate is growing rapidly.
Private companies and government organizations, especially those that host large audiences in open spaces like airports or stadiums know their people of interest. These can be VIPs who require special care or bad actors who are recognized as a threat. Although many public and commercial spaces are networked with CCTV cameras, and although the organization knows the people whose entry into the site is supposed to generate an immediate alert and cause immediate action by security or service personnel – many fail to identify those people of interest in real-time. Or in other words – prosopagnosia. While prosopagnosia has no cure, organizational facial blindness has.
The exclusive Les Ambassadeurs Casino in London, for example, uses facial recognition technology to instantly identify club members at the entrance to the casino and quickly prepare behind the scenes their favorite table, with their preferred croupier, and the food and beverages according to high-roller gambler’s personal tastes. Ryan Best, head of security at Les Ambassadeurs, described the use of facial recognition as “part of the white gloves service” in an interview with Bloomberg. Another common use enables schools, hospitals, retail chains and sports stadiums to identify in advance known criminals and visitors with a history of violence against students, customers and staff. Such an alert triggers an action such as denial of entry or close surveillance by security personnel and has been proven to be highly effective in removing thieves from retail chains, card counters from casinos and hooligans from stadiums.
In all cases described the organization’s watch list is not endless but is justified and limited. It usually contains a list of people against whom there is an arrest warrant or known as potential threats and on the other hand a list of VIPs who require special treatment or of employees with access to certain areas in the facility such as the warehouse or the vault.
Bottom line: Don’t let your organization’s prosopagnosia go unnoticed. Recognizing people of interest in physical spaces in real-time is already helping organizations in education, financial services, retail, health, sports and gaming to positively impact safety, productivity and customer experience without compromising on fair and ethical use.
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