There has been some noise raised around facial recognition lately, especially those in use by corporations and authorities. But while misuse of such technology is valid cause for concern, there are some younger, more optimistic minds that are thinking outside the box to use facial recognition for good. One such mind is 14-year-old Emma Yang whose Timeless app is making waves because of it aims to use the same technology applied to identify criminals and suspects for identifying family and friends for those stricken by Alzheimer’s disease.
Emma’s motivation for the app is a personal one. Two years ago, she started noticing her grandmother started to forget things, from birthdays to even what she just recently ate. For a young girl, that would have been an emotionally depressing experience. For Yang, it was an opportunity to use technology to help alleviate some of the problems of the disease.
Fortunately, Emma is one of a new generation of kids who have been trained at an early age to not only use technology but also to create it. Yang herself had been coding since six, thanks both to school and the influence of her father who works in the tech industry. One of her recent awarded accomplishments, an app that could identify an injury as a concussion, opened her eyes to the beneficial use of such apps in people’s lives.
But face recognition is probably a whole new level of difficulty, even for a 14-year-old. Fortunately, she was able to harness the AI technology from Miami-based startup Kairos for her app. Unsurprisingly, there has been no shortage of naysayers doubting her work. Fortunately for her, she has the likes of Bill Gates and Alibaba executive vice-chairman Joseph Tsai to back her up.