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Our brains cannot remember the faces of everyone we cross on the street, but for better & for worse facial recognition software can.

Paul Matzko
Tech & Innovation Editor

Matthew Feeney is the director of Cato’s Project on Emerging Technologies, where he works on issues concerning the intersection of new technologies and civil liberties. . Before coming to Cato, Matthew worked at Reason magazine as assistant editor of Rea​son​.com. He has also worked at The American Conservative, the Liberal Democrats, and the Institute of Economic Affairs. Matthew is a dual British/​American citizen and received both his B.A and M.A in philosophy from the University of Reading in England.

Caleb Watney leads R Street’s work on emerging technologies, including autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, drones and robotics. In this role, he regularly meets with policymakers, files regulatory comments, writes op‐​eds and manages a monthly technology policy working group.

Caleb was previously a graduate research fellow at the Mercatus Center, working with the Technology Policy Program. He has also worked as a policy research consultant for Uber.

Caleb received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Sterling College and his master’s in economics from George Mason University.

Facial recognition software will transform our lives for good or for ill. On the one hand, it will be used to make retail transactions more seamless, to replace keyed entry into houses and cars, and to provide other benefits that we can’t yet even imagine. However, it could also be used for corporate and governmental surveillance in ways that undermine civil liberties and reduce privacy. Caleb Watney joins Matthew and Paul to discuss the potential promise and peril of facial recognition technology.

What does facial recognition technology do? What algorithms or parameters are being used with facial recognition? What are the positive applications of facial recognition software? How can facial recognition improve our lives? Will facial recognition be used for ‘targeted search’? Where does our data go? How much anonymity should we enjoy?

Further Reading:

A Framework for Increasing Competition and Diffusion in Artificial Intelligence, written by Caleb Watney

Facial Recognition Software: The Future Is Here, written by Daniel Newman

Matthew Feeney discusses facial recognition software at airports on FOX News

Giving TSA Facial‐​Recognition Software Isn’t Worth a Faster Security Line, written by Matthew Feeney

The Chinese Surveillance State, Building Tomorrow Podcast

The Brave New World of DNA Databases, Building Tomorrow Podcast