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Creating Africa-centric Biometrics

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Facial recognition technology is not widely employed in Africa, partly because the technology available up till now has not been adept at identifying and differentiating the faces of Black people. US government tests of the best Western-developed facial recognition systems have shown them to misidentify Black people at rates up to five to 10 times higher than they do white people. The racial disparity in the performance of the biometric artificial intelligence technology which forms the backbone of these systems stemmed from an obvious problem: they are trained by using datasets mostly made up of white faces. In 2018, four software engineers set up a company in Ghana to address this limitation of commonly available facial recognition software. They were spurred by their own research which revealed Ghanaian banks are beset by widespread identity fraud and cybercrime and spend nearly $400 million a year to identify their customers. BACE API, a digital verification system that uses Artificial Intelligence and facial recognition to verify the identities of Africans remotely and in real time.

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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