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AI may be familiar with all our ways, but God created our face for much more.

I love my wife’s elbows. And my kids’ little toes. But when I have been away on travel for a week and return home, it is not their elbows and toes that makes me feel at home. It is their happy, smiling faces that I connect with when I see them waiting for me to come in the door.

When we meet people on the street, it is not their elbows or little toes that we use to identify them. It is their faces that tell us who they are. We are so used to looking at faces—happy faces, sad faces, faces we know, and faces we don’t—that it is easy to forget the significance of the face as a person’s greatest indicator of personal identity. The human face is immensely practical as a form of recognition but also incredibly intimate as the way we know and understand each other—and the Bible says one day we’ll intimately know God this way.

Our faces, our identity

Facial recognition is no longer limited to people but is coming into its own in the world of technology and artificial intelligence. Last year, I typed in a password to log in to my computer; today, I use my fingerprint. But tomorrow the mere presence of my face will alert my computer I am ready to work. According to Counterpoint Research, thanks to Apple’s Face ID, facial recognition will be the primary biometric for smartphone unlocks by 2020.

Smartphone unlocks and computer logins are nothing compared to where we are headed once facial recognition integrates with artificial intelligence. Taking a cue from Robocop and other sci-fi dystopian stories, Chinese authorities earlier this year unveiled new sunglasses that utilize facial recognition software connected to a Chinese database. In one train station in Zhengzhou, these sunglasses …

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