Imagine going to a baseball game and instead of showing your ticket, you simply smile at a camera to enter. This is what some fans experience when they visit stadiums with facial recognition technology.
Facial recognition is becoming increasingly popular in sports venues around the world, especially as the MLB playoffs heat up. By some estimates, more than 20 stadiums around the world are already using or testing this technology. Many other stadiums have also expressed interest in implementing facial recognition in their stadiums.
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What is facial recognition?
Facial recognition is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that can identify and verify your identity by analyzing your facial features. This technology scans your face and compares it to a database of ticket holders, allowing you to enter the stadium without any problems. It can be used for various purposes: security, convenience, personalization and marketing.
Integration of AI into sports stadiums
AI technology is increasingly integrated into our lives, with no end in sight. Recently, it has also appeared in professional sports. Teams primarily use AI in three ways: to improve the fan experience, to access deeper real-time data about their own team’s players and opponents, and to improve the team’s internal workflow. business, as well as facial recognition systems.
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Facial recognition in stadiums
Facial recognition kiosks have popped up in many stadiums across the country. Stadiums are basically trying to end the sale of paper tickets and make your face your ticket. More than 50 professional stadiums plan to soon integrate this system into their stadium, while many are already testing or using it, including:
- Citi Fieldin New York, home of the Mets baseball team, made history by becoming the first MLB team to officially implement a facial recognition ticketing system through a program called Mets Entry Express.
- Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, home of the Phillies baseball team
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, home of the Falcons football team and the United football team
- Empower the field at Mile High in Denver, home of the Broncos football team
- FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, home of the Browns football team
- Progressive fieldhome of the Cleveland Guardians, has partnered with Clear to grant stadium visitors expedited entry in exchange for their biometric information
- Pechanga Arena, the stadium of San Diego’s football and hockey teams, partnered with a company called PopID to implement facial recognition-based ticketing
- Lower.com fieldin Columbus, Ohio, which is the home stadium of the professional football team Columbus Crew, has “Express Entry” for facial recognition ticketing
- The Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California, stands out as an early adopter of facial recognition. The facility began using facial recognition on metal detectors around 2017 to keep an eye out for VIPs, accredited staff or even potentially dangerous individuals.
- FedEx field in Landover, Maryland, which uses facial recognition to enter
- Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, which uses facial recognition for ticketing
- Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University in Tempe, which was used as a “living laboratory” to use facial recognition technology that will analyze how fans feel based on their facial expressions
- Tropicana Field in Florida, where the Tampa Bay Rays play their home games, also wants to adopt facial recognition technology
As more and more stadiums consider integrating this technology, it faces a lot of controversy.
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The benefits of facial recognition for sports venues include:
- It can provide a frictionless and contactless way to enter the stadium and purchase concessions, which can improve the fan experience and safety.
- It can assists with security and crowd management by detecting potentially dangerous people before they enter the stadium or cause trouble.
- This can help to fan engagement and personalization by collecting data on fan demographics, preferences, emotions and behaviors, which can be used to tailor music, lighting, entertainment and marketing to fans.
Challenges and risks of using facial recognition
Facial recognition technology is not widely accepted by everyone. It also raises certain ethical and social concerns, such as privacy, accuracy, bias and consent.
Some people are skeptical or fearful of artificial intelligence, which is still a relatively new and untested field. The lack of regulation and oversight in the AI industry raises questions about the security and privacy of this technology.
Some people may feel uncomfortable or violated by having their face scanned by a machine. Others may be concerned about possible misuse or abuse of their biometric data by hackers or authorities.
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Privacy experts worry about how data can be shared with law enforcement and the expanding surveillance network it creates. Katie Kinsey, chief of staff for the Policing Project at NYU Law, said, “Oftentimes, law enforcement just needs to ask these companies to turn them over; no procedure is required. »
Illinois, Texas and Washington have passed laws that regulate the use of facial recognition technology.
Another big problem with facial recognition so far is that it has proven to be somewhat inaccurate. When this software has problems and does not work properly, it turns out that it misidentifies people of color. Since stadiums have exclusion lists, this is problematic as you could be misidentified and kicked out for a software issue.
How can we ensure our facial data is not misused or compromised?
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If you have a choice, turn off facial scans whenever possible. Some locations may offer you the option to opt out of facial recognition and use other methods of identification or verification. For example, you can use a physical ticket instead of your face to enter a stadium.
Kurt’s Key Takeaways
Ultimately, whether you’re ready or not, AI and facial recognition are making their way into sports stadiums, regardless of the controversy and issues surrounding it. In the coming years, we can expect the majority of sports stadiums to use facial recognition technology.
While facial recognition can provide many benefits to fans, such as faster entry, enhanced security, and personalized experiences, it also raises some concerns around privacy, accuracy, and ethics.
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