At this week's CeBIT conference in Hanover, Germany, Alibaba founder Jack Ma finished his speech by presenting a prototype of one of the company's new ideas: a payment system that uses facial recognition for its security. According to Recode, Ma would like the project available to the public by 2017.
This is a great idea, if you plan to buy 500 pounds of green Jell-O with Polygon co-founder and podcast superstar Justin McElroy's checking account. You'd simply print this mask I found from a quick Google research, wear it on your face, and commit theft.
Surely, Alibaba's facial technology won't be fooled by Halloween masks, but how it will know the difference between a human and a high-resolution image remains a huge question. It's certainly not outside the realm of possibility. Other companies, including Google, have been trying to solve this problem for some time. For now, here's a totally unrelated, high-resolution portrait of billionaire Steve Ballmer.