TOKYO: Alibaba CEO Jack Ma unveiled the technology ‘facial recognition’ during the CeBit exhibition in Germany while discussing Alipay, the company’s mobile payments service. According to Fortune
“Using online payments to buy things is always a big headache,” he said. “You forget your password, you worry about security. Today we’ll show you a new technology, how in the future people will buy things online.”
Ma demonstrated the feature by pointing the camera’s forward facing camera at himself. A screen showed a white outline appear around his head. And within a few moments the transaction was complete.
The app would authenticate payments by matching a photo taken by the user at the time of purchase with one stored on their Smartphone.
The feature, called “Smile to Pay”, is expected to roll out to China first before arriving in other countries in 2017.
Microsoft and Alibaba aren’t the only ones experimenting with facial recognition. At CES earlier this year, Intel introduced True Key, which allows users to access accounts using a facial scan.
But as Dan Moren at Popular Science discovered, it’s not that difficult to fool some facial recognition systems that are already up and running.
Substituting a photo for a real face doesn’t work anymore as the latest technology requires the user to blink. However, Moren showed that using a high definition video now available on most smart phones was enough to do the trick.