The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took place on 19 May 2018, and one piece of technology featured quite heavily: facial recognition. You might be thinking that the tech was used for security purposes, which is one of the ways in which facial recognition has often been used, but you’d be wrong.
Broadcasters at the wedding used facial recognition technology to identify celebrities, members of the royal family and other people of interest as they televised the wedding to the world.
Who’s Who Live, a service developed by Sky News, a number of tech start-ups, and Amazon Web Services used Amazon’s Rekognition software to make the names of guests appear as subtitles on the screen.
Speaking before the wedding, David Gibbs, the digital director of Sky News, said that the company was excited by the software’s potential and ability to give audiences new ways of consuming content.
“This new functionality allows Royal Wedding viewers greater insight into one of the biggest live events of the year, wherever they are,” said Gibbs.
Held at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, the wedding had 600 guests invited to the service. 2,640 members of the public were invited to the Windsor Castle grounds, among them 1,200 people who had demonstrated strong leadership in their communities. Due to Markle’s career in the entertainment industry as an actress in the TV series Suits, many famous faces attended, including Oprah Winfrey, Serena Williams and a number of Markle’s Suits co-stars.
Despite a recent report by Metropolitan Police in the UK showing that facial recognition technology is inaccurate in 98% of cases, its use in a public broadcast with the magnitude and reach of the nuptials of the British Royal Family is certainly a world-first.