The future of biometrics is amazing and scary at the same time

Pankaj Mishra June 13, 2016 1 min

If you’ve seen Minority Report or basically any science fiction movie, you can’t miss how important biometrics are supposed to be in the future — the full-body scanners that constantly monitor human activity, the gadgets that scan your iris and unlock doors, or the sensors that detect alien presence. The good thing about this is life becomes totally chill (especially if you’re lazy). You walk into your apartment, the door opens by itself, the television changes to your favourite channel as you settle down on your couch, which adjusts to the exact degree of fluffiness your bum needs. On a somewhat more socially relevant note, biometric data helps crime fighters with better evidence and equips them with accurate information and so on.

The bad part is constant surveillance.

Good or bad, there is no denying that biometrics will play an important role in our future. In fact it’s already all around us — the fingerprint sensors that unlock smartphones being a common example. But to understand what that future of biometrics will look like, we sought inputs from one of the world’s foremost computer scientists in the field.

In this interview with Pankaj Mishra of FactorDaily,  professor Anil Jain from the department of Computer Science & Engineering at Michigan State University talks about the past, present and future of biometrics. Jain, who was a key architect of India’s unique identification database as well, also talks about the Aadhaar Bill and privacy concerns surrounding it.


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