Study shows face recognition experts perform better with AI as partner

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Experts at recognizing faces often play a crucial role in criminal cases. A photo from a security camera can mean prison or freedom for a defendant--and testimony from highly trained forensic face examiners informs the jury whether that image actually depicts the accused. Just how good are facial recognition experts? In work that combines forensic science with psychology and computer vision research, a team of scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and three universities has tested the accuracy of professional face identifiers, providing at least one revelation that surprised even the researchers: Trained human beings perform best with a computer as a partner, not another person. "This is the first study to measure face identification accuracy for professional forensic facial examiners, working under circumstances that apply in real-world casework," said NIST electronic engineer P. Jonathon Phillips.

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