Every year in the US, it is estimated that shelters take in 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats. When your pet is a part of your family, it is devastating to you and to them when they become lost.
Microchipping your pets is expensive, and not every lost pet will have one. One solution that has emerged is facial recognition. The app Finding Rover, available for Android and iOS, is helping animal shelters to reunite families with their lost pets using facial recognition and crowdsourcing. Amazingly, Finding Rover has achieved a 98% accurate match rate, making it a most effective way to locate missing pets quickly.
Membership is free; just create a profile and upload a photo of your dog or cat to the app. If you lose your pet, you can mark their profile as “lost.” This instantly sends out a notification to local shelters and members that your pet is lost. Using the picture of your pet, the facial recognition technology can display photos of pets that look like yours. If you see that your pet has been found, you can click on the image to view pickup information. Members can also use the app when they find animals; just upload a photo of the cat or dog, and mark as “found.”
Shelters everywhere are currently utilizing the app as another tool to end pet homelessness. With all the ethical dilemmas surrounding the appropriate use of facial recognition technology, the Finding Rover app stands out as an example of Tech for Good.
Reality Changing Observations:
1. What are some other ways facial recognition technology can be used for good?
2. Why do you think so many pets are without homes?
3. What other technology could we use to help end pet homelessness?