Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11,2001,I read an article that said facial recognition systems may be used at airports in the future to spot terror suspects. A facial recognition system is basically a video camera connected to a computer. In an airport security application,people entering the airport would be asked to walk past the camera,so the camera could obtain a picture of their faces. The image of their face would be sent from the camera to the computer so the computer could compare their face to faces of known terror suspects. The pictures of terror suspects would come from a law enforcement data base. If your face looked like the face of a terror suspect,the computer would sound an alarm,and the security guards would come to ask you a few questions.

I thought if that system is good enough to work in an airport for spotting terror suspects,why wouldn't it be good enough to use in a retail store,to tally up our purchases? Imagine a trip to the store in the future,a store that uses a facial recognition system to calculate retail sales.
You would get a shopping cart and collect the items you wanted to buy,placing each item in the cart. Then,when you had all you want,you would go to the checkout and wave each item from your cart over a bar-code scanner. The bar-code scanner would identify each item that you wanted to buy,and the next step would be to pay for the items. A recording of a human voice would be played over the loudspeaker,it would say:"Please look directly into the camera". That means you must look directly into the camera,so the store's facial recognition system can obtain a picture of your face. After the camera takes a picture of your face,the picture is sent from the camera to the store's computer. The store's computer contains a data base of known customers (customers who have shopped there in the past) and when the computer recognizes your face,the computer plays another recording of a voice over the loudspeaker,this one says:"Your face is recognized".

Then the store's computer sends a signal through the internet to your bank,and deducts the cost of your purchase from your bank account. The store's computer then plays a recording of a voice that says: "Paid in full. Thank you!" This means the cost of your purchase has been deducted from your bank account,you should see a record of the purchase when you get your bank statement in the mail at the end of the month. The store's computer then prints out a receipt,then you can take your receipt,take your groceries,and go. Someday in the future,this system may be used at thousands of retail stores all over the world. So when you go to a store,there would be no need to bring cash,a debit card,or other media,you could pay for your purchases simply by showing your face.