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.

Tags: Apple, handset, killer app

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    January 10, 2012 14:44

    Geoff, I thought that was called “texting”!

  2. Geoff Mitchell
    January 10, 2012 12:07

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

  3. Terry
    January 05, 2012 10:47

    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. Tony Morris
    January 05, 2012 09:23

    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. Keith
    January 05, 2012 08:42

    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. David Manners
    January 04, 2012 22:08

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

  7. Keith
    January 04, 2012 18:00

    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.

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