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AI face-recognition technology helps reunite lost families

By WANG YIQING | China Daily | Updated: 2020-01-15 08:09
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College students operate their underwater robots during the Underwater Robot Challenge of the 3rd World Intelligence Congress (WIC) in Tianjin, China, May 15, 2019. [Photo/IC]

Domestic internet giant Baidu recently announced that its public welfare Baidu Artificial Intelligence People Searching program successfully reunited more than 10,000 lost people with their families over the past three years, which is a good example of how technology benefits people.

Baidu launched this project using its artificial intelligence (AI) face-recognition technology.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Civil Affairs and nongovernmental organizations, Baidu's system matches the photographs provided by help seekers with those in the population database to achieve highly efficient search results.

After going through 200 million face-training sample photos, Baidu's AI-based face-recognition technology has achieved a recognition accuracy rate of as high as 99.7 percent. It also supports across-age image comparisons, thus helping parents find their lost children after several years on the basis of their childhood photos.

Many parents whose children were lost at a young age have only their childhood photographs, making the search difficult as features change once a child grows up. But many such lost people have been reunited with their families as AI's face-recognition technology can match an adult with his/her childhood photograph.

Baidu said it will further improve its program by deepening cooperation with the Ministry of Civil Affairs to cover all the 2,068 grassroots rescue centers, and expand the program to help more people.

This innovative new technology realizes the true goal of technological progress: to make people's lives better. Applying AI technology for public welfare not only helps people in need, but also improves efficiency and saves costs. It is also a good way for enterprises to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility and contribute to society. It is hoped that more high-tech companies will innovatively apply their technologies to help the public.

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