Now this is why I would fork over $1500 and risk looking like a tool to wear a pair of Google Glasses: face recognition.

Google Glass gets face recognition



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Updated: Now this is why I would fork over $1500 and risk looking like a tool to wear a pair of Google Glasses: face recognition.

Lambda Labs, a San Francisco-based augmented reality company, says it has developed facial recognition software for Google’s not-so-soon-to-be-released Glasses, that will tell you the name of who you’re looking at. The software will be made available to Google Glass app developers within the week.

The software spots faces in your field of vision, and then puts names to that face, ranked in order of probability, based on a pool of mug shots that you’ve already uploaded to some servers somewhere. Presumably you can turn it off, so it’s not trying to name every passerby as you walk along the street, and you only turn it on when you arrive at a party or a meeting where you’re worried that you’ll forget a name.Just how the software would work with Google Glass remains to be seen, however. Google has just issued a statement saying it’s reluctant to itself add face recognition software to Glass “unless we have strong privacy protections in place”, so it might be that you’d have to fiddle with your Android phone before the Lambda Labs software would run.

And by fiddle, I mean “root” – the unfortunate technical term for when you crack the security on a phone, allowing you to run unauthorised apps. That’s not hard to do on an Android phone, the main platform for Glass, and so despite Google’s protestations, the facial recognition genie will almost certainly get out of the Glass bottle one way or the other.

In case you haven’t been following, Google’s controversial Project Glass is a set of specs with a heads-up display built into it, that can act as a tiny, second display for apps running on your smartphone or tablet. The specs have a camera built into them, leading to concerns that their use will result in a massive, widespread privacy problem when people start shooting videos and stills all over the place without anyone’s knowledge or permission.

But none of that matters if the glasses help with facial recognition. The panic I get into when confronted with someone whose name I have forgotten, no price is too high to pay to save me from that.

Besides, face recognition could have positive social benefits, in a Panopticon, police-state sort of a way. Police in Britain are already contemplating the use of technologies like Google Glass as an investigative tool, and adding facial recognition to that mix could have a devastating effect on crime. Every time you walk past a wanted fugitive, an alert could pop up on your display, telling you to tackle the crim, or run for your life, depending on other pre-programmed variables such as your weight and size (dis)advantage, what sort of weapons the crim is known to carry, how much Dutch courage you’ve just consumed and so on.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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