Knowing That Chicken by Face

Facial recognition of animals can have radical effects on our relationship to other species.

February 18, 2020, Veera Hakkinen

Facial recognition of humans is no news anymore, but a less known fact is that technology has been recently successfully used on animals. In addition to better management and care practices, facial recognition could also help to improve our relationship with animals.

This article is inspired by the Futurist's Pick of The Month "Knowing That Chicken by Face". To receive monthly insights from the top futurists, register HERE.

The millennial generation has been active advocates on issues such as veganism and pet ownership. Ethical issues and proper treatment of animals have never before been such important criteria for buying decisions as they are for many of today's consumers. What happens when this growing interest in animal welfare meets one of the newest tech innovations?


Facial recognition technology has been already successfully used on different animal species for several years. The accuracy rate of detecting a single individual is surprisingly high, approximately 87-97 percent.

In the future AI-powered technology will increasingly help scientists and animal owners to track farm animals and wildlife, learning more about their behavior at an individual level.

Source: 1 NEWS

Compared to GPS trackers attached to animals, facial recognition is a more convenient and reliable tool for tracking spreading generations, detecting diseases or finding lost animals.

Databases can also offer consumers more transparent information about the origin of their food and ensure the animals have been treated well and lived good lives.



In the wider sense, facial recognition of animals could help to build deeper and more connected relationships towards wild and farm animals in the whole society.

This could be especially valuable in urban areas where people do not have frequent contact with animals other than pets. Machine intelligence can already read the facial cues of sheep expressing emotions such as pain, which are impossible for the human eye to detect.

Opening and sharing the collected databases among people could offer a possibility to know more about the behavior and characteristics of animals surrounding us. Knowing them literally by face could make them familiar as individuals instead of just herds or populations.



Further on, the database could be used by companies, other communities, and schools.

Used both for education and entertainment, the collision of these trends can have a long-term positive effect on future generations' relationships with nature and animals.

A child feeds a rabbit-Facial Recognition on animal-Future Trend
Using facial recognition of animals in schools can help teach the children empathy and compassion - Source: Unsplash

It could even radically change how we, as humans, perceive and treat other species around us. Whatever the outcome will be in the long term, the possibility to recognize who actually in person is chewing the cud or chirping in the tree is already here.



To write this article, Futures Platform's futurists have collected the data from different phenomena and found the linkages among them. Here are the three colliding phenomena that are causing this trend:

Animal Rights

The strengthening support for animal rights creates pressures in all fields and industries where animals have a key role. There are growing demands to improve the quality of animal life and to stop some practices that are based on the exploitation of animals.

Facial Recognition

Facial recognition refers to software-based applications that can identify and separate persons based on the features of their faces. Accuracy and speed of facial recognition systems have increased significantly in the past years, and this development is expected to accelerate.

Wild Animal Species

In 2018, both the UN and the WWF released scientific reports warning that human activities are causing a rapid decline in the population of many wild animal species. There is even a growing scientific consensus that the Earth is at the early stages of a 6th mass extinction event. The final outcome and its impact on humans, however, still remain unclear.

You can find more detailed descriptions about these phenomena and their impacts on Futures Platform. 

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