The US military has just taken a giant step towards killer robots that can see and identify faces in total darkness. DEVCOM, a branch of the US military dealing with the development of military technology, has just published preliminary research on training artificial intelligence for facial recognition based on thermal images. Why is it so important? The robots are pretty good at seeing in the dark, but until now it has not been possible to train them to identify targets just from the images from thermal imagers. The database, as has just been revealed, consists of only such images, so it is clear that the necessary solutions have been developed and the US military intends to use them.
Like any other facial recognition system, AI will be trained to categorize images using specific parameters. AI doesn’t care if it’s photos of a face in natural light or from a thermal imaging camera, it just needs a certain amount of data to get better at it. And it looks like it will eventually get it, because the database is the largest we have ever dealt with, although less than 600,000 photos and 395 objects is still relatively little compared to typical databases for face recognition systems.
This means that artificial intelligence will not be very good at recognizing faces based on images from thermal imaging cameras, especially since even classic systems have some problems with this and are definitely lost in identifying someone other than a typical white male. And the DEVCOM researchers are well aware of this: – The analysis of the results shows two challenging scenarios. First, the performance of thermal imaging systems and model verification thermovision-visible face clearly degrades in unposed photos. Secondly, thermal imaging-visible face verification models encounter many problems when the subject is wearing glasses in some photos and not in others – we read in the document. And this is where the biggest concerns arise – is the US military, realizing all the shortcomings of this technology, still going to use it? It’s hard to say, because the American administration has expressed interest in such systems many times, even if they acted very poorly, and here human life is at stake.
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