I Know That Face

In the movie Saturday Night Fever, just before he and his friends are about to enter the disco at the center of their lives, Tony Manero tells them to shape up, “We’re the faces.” That line always stuck with me. My young kids often wonder why, just before entering an event, I remind them that we’re the faces. In the very near future, it will become clear that the statement will hold true for all of us, as facial recognition becomes a primary mode of identification. As is the case with many tech advances, this one will herald in a period of greater convenience, coupled with less privacy and increased weirdness. “One big difference between faces and other biometric data, such as fingerprints, is that they work at a distance.” Your face can tell us who you are, and give us clues about how you’re feeling and whether or not you’re telling the truth. Here’s The Economist with a glimpse of what life will be like in the age of facial recognition. It won’t all be positive. But it’s coming. So, as Pete Townshend warned (in a song that, after three decades, finally makes perfect sense), you’ve gotta Face the Face.

+ Vice: India’s biometric database is a dystopian nightmare.

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