The Killer App of The Decade

The great killer app of the decade is either well on the way, or it will turn out to be too tricky – technically and legally – to accomplish.

You hold up your handset to point the camera at someone. The screen tells you: ‘Deirdre Jones, 23.  Multi-millionairess. Owns a pub. Double First in maths. Works as a quant in a hedge fund. Likes Daiquiris and hot curries. Puts out on the third date. Favourite author: Stephen Hawking.’

Is she in your league or not?

According to, Apple is working on putting face recognition into its handsets.

Patents filed by the company show that it is developing face recognition technology though it is unclear whether this will be used for simple functions like an alternative to passwords, or whether it will be used to put a name and personal details to a face in a crowd.

Although the latter is a technology used by police and customs, it would involve too much processing power for a handset.

However, with fast wireless links, e.g. the 100Mbits/sec link of LTE, a handset could capture an image and send it to be it analysed remotely.

Clearly, it would involve some major legal issues over peoples’ personal image rights.
However, such an app, if it could be made to work, would be a killer app of  ginormous  proportions.




    Geoff, I thought that was called “texting”!

  2. The killer app will be “silent voice”. This allows chat without making a sound. Far less downsides than face recognition?!

  3. The other question is where the reference data for face recognition would come from. Facebook? If so then it’s up to us whether we want to publish identifiable images of ourselves. Much of the privacy that’s been lost in the last decade has been willingly given away.

  4. Hope I don’t see it happen – previously I’d get ignored my a lass for looking too grotty, with this it’d be because I only got 2 of out 10 in my third year maths test and so am too thick, on top of grotty!

  5. Hi David, governments can tap your phone anytime they want, but I don’t think that line of defense worked for the NOW journalists.

  6. Governments are already doing it, Keith, with protesters. What’s sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.

  7. I can imagine that this sort of app would be banned by any government. Imagine the implications – point at a policeman during a demo/riots and identify him? Point at someone wearing an expensive watch/jewelry and find their address and then burgle them? The potential abuse of this sort of thing could be immense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *