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FaceApp-like tech reunites missing boy with his parents after 18 years

FaceApp, the AI-based app currently facing the wrath for storing customer’s photo under an irrevocable clause in its terms of service, has become a household’s name. In its second wave of virality, FaceApp saw a huge surge in the usage around the globe that took the Internet by storm. But amid all the backlash, a technology that powers the FaceApp proved to be a boon for a Chinese couple that found their child who went missing 18 years ago.

According to a report by Metro, Yu Weifeng was reunited with his parents, thanks to the AI-based technology that the police used to determine what the boy would look like after 18 years since he went missing. The case is from the Shenzhen’s Futian District, which is in South China’s Guangdong Province, where the police tried a software provided by the Tencent AI Lab to predict what the boy would appear after 18 years.

Read | FaceApp the new rage, but are your photos safe and secure?

After the closest prediction was made by the software, the police ran the result through a vast database. The database search took around two months wherein the software engaged in finding the best match through a set of 100 candidates. Weifeng, now 21, was sorted out to be the closest match for the prediction.

Weifeng, who initially denied being kidnapped after the police approached him, is a student in Guangzhou. But after the DNA test, it became clear to Weifeng that he is the couple’s biological child.

The report mentions that Weifend was named Li by his foster parents who raised him for 18 years. Li was lost on May 6, 2001 near a construction site where his biological father worked as a foreman. The police case to locate him was never dropped since then. “Technology was very limited at the time. We checked surveillance footage, but there were simply too many people coming and out of the area,” said Zheng Zhenhai, a local investigator who took up the case.

The AI-based technology is quite similar to the one used by FaceApp to predict what a person would look like if the age is changed. Ever since someone thought of re-using the app, FaceApp shot to fame within a matter of days. However, a horde of concerns on the app’s privacy policy centred its fame. Top security analysts have feared that app may use the facial data of millions of users nefariously. It was also being speculated that the creator of the FaceApp has links to Russia and that the data is suspected to having been mined there.

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Source: Financial Express