US Air Force military drones can now use AI to recognize human FACES

THE US is on the verge of deploying drones with facial recognition technology.

Many fear this will mark a fresh start for government surveillance.

The US Air Force is to use it for reconnaissance missions abroad


The US Air Force is to use it for reconnaissance missions abroad

However, the US Air Force is expected to use the technology only on small drones as part of special operations.

The technology is called SAFR and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to recognize faces within 0.3 seconds with a 95% positivity rate, according to RealNetworks, the company that owns the technology.

It can reportedly authenticate up to 30 people per minute and has cost the US Air Force nearly $730,000 (£604,000) to date, according to public contract details.

The technology can be used for occupancy counting and even face mask detection.

But the US Air Force is said to be using it on reconnaissance missions abroad, Vice first reported.

“We will adapt the SAFR facial recognition platform for use on an autonomous vehicle [small unmanned aircraft system] for special operations, [intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition]and other expeditionary use cases,” the contract states.

The contract added that the technology is destined to provide “action-oriented insights” to human operators in alternative locations.

The technology will also “open up the possibility for real-time autonomous robot response,” the contract explained, which could take the form of text messages sent to human operators.

It cements long-held fears by privacy activists who have worried about the link between facial recognition technology and drones.

While the quality of cameras and sensors has been used as the main reason to address concerns, the tide seems to have turned.

On RealNetworks’ website, the company boasts that the technology offers “high-performance” recognition of biometrics – such as facial structure.

It can also detect when it’s being “spoofed” – when someone is trying to mask or change their appearance to avoid detection.

However, the company has stated that all image and biometric data it collects is encrypted and cannot be shared with other companies.

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