Harnessing unrecognizable faces for improving face recognition
The common implementation of face recognition systems as a cascade of a detection stage and a recognition or verification stage can cause problems beyond failures of the detector. When the detector succeeds, it can detect faces that cannot be recognized, no matter how capable the recognition system is. Recognizability, a latent variable, should therefore be factored into the design and implementation of face recognition systems. We propose a measure of recognizability of a face image that leverages a key empirical observation: An embedding of face images, implemented by a deep neural network trained using mostly recognizable identities, induces a partition of the hypersphere whereby unrecognizable identities cluster together. This occurs regardless of the phenomenon that causes a face to be unrecognizable, be it optical or motion blur, partial occlusion, spatial quantization, or poor illumination. Therefore, we use the distance from such an “unrecognizable identity” as a measure of recognizability, and incorporate it into the design of the overall system. We show that accounting for recognizability reduces the error rate of single-image face recognition by 58% at FAR=1e-5 on the IJB-C Covariate Verification benchmark, and reduces the verification error rate by 24% at FAR=1e-5 in set-based recognition on the IJB-C benchmark.