1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
ScienceGlobal issues

AI Lexicon — F

Published May 17, 2024last updated May 17, 2024

Do you know your AI from your ML? Or your facial recognition from your Ethical AI? Our AI Lexicon offers easy-to-understand definitions and examples of AI in everyday life. It really is what you need to know.

DW Science | AI Lexicon by Zulfikar Abbany
F is for face the truth: Your face is in the system!Image: Ayse Tasci-Steinebach/DW

Facial recognition

While the original concept for facial recognition was developed in the 1960s, the idea and technology has only become common in the past 10-15 years, with the growth of AI and machine learning capabilities.

Passports now include biometric data that underpin facial recognition. People use facial recognition to unlock their phones. And police and other authorities use the same technology to pick out and identify individuals in crowds — at public demonstrations, for example — via CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras.

Facial recognition technology determines unique characteristics and contours in a person's face and compares that information with images of other people's faces, either live (as it happens) or images stored in a database. Police used to do a similar job manually — AI makes the process faster and more extensive.

Advocates say facial recognition can help protect an individual's digital security and privacy. Critics say it's an invasive form of mass surveillance. Researchers have revealed racial biases and identification errors that have led to negative outcomes for groups of people. (za/fs)


Coming soon:

Frontier AI


Facial Recognition (NordVPN) https://nordvpn.com/cybersecurity/glossary/facial-recognition/ (accessed October 17, 2023)

Facial Recognition: An Introduction (Institute for Internet and the Just Society) https://www.internetjustsociety.org/cosmonaut/facial-recognition-an-introduction (accessed October 17, 2023)

Read the rest of DW's AI Lexicon:

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

We're keen to hear your feedback. Suggest an entry by sending us a comment. And let us know if you feel we have missed something, got it wrong, and tell us whether our AI Lexicon has helped you understand the technology better.

Written and edited by: Zulfikar Abbany (za), Fred Schwaller (fs) 

DW Zulfikar Abbany
Zulfikar Abbany Senior editor fascinated by space, AI and the mind, and how science touches people
DW journalist Fred Schwaller wears a white T-shirt and jeans.
Fred Schwaller Science writer fascinated by the brain and the mind, and how science influences society@schwallerfred