Say what you like about the dangers of technology, there's no question that it can also be used for good. Schools in the U.S. are testing facial recognition software as a tool to improve safety for students and administrators, amidst the alarming rise of gun violence in schools.
The tool, called SAFR, is an AI-based facial recognition platform that has the capacity to detect and match millions of faces in real-time. SAFR's high performing software can rapidly process faces and match them to corresponding IDs in a database of enrolled faces.
According to their website, SAFR recognizes faces in "real-world conditions." SAFR's best-in-class cameras can seamlessly detect faces that are far away, at an angle, blurred or partially obscured and in poor lighting. It can even detect makeup and facial expressions.
Right now, the program is being tested at a school in Seattle, where SAFR creator Rob Glaser's children go to school. The state of Wyoming is also running a pilot test with the SAFR system.
According to Wired, parents and administrators at the school were asked to register their faces with SAFR. With their faces in the database, adults would be allowed to enter the school by smiling at a camera at the school's front gate. If their face is recognized, the gates unlocked.
SAFR can also be used at events and venues. Guests, employees and visitors can use facial recognition to access the building, to allow for a more secure and streamlined check-in process. The SAFR system instantly identifies gender, age range and mood, and has the potential to provide " a new level of situational awareness" at crowded events where security measures are a priority.
Glaser admits that it is possible to "overdo" surveillance in schools. "But I also agree that, in a country where there have been so many tragic incidents in schools, technology that makes it easier to keep schools safer is fundamentally a good thing,” he says.
To learn more about SAFR, check out their website.