Selfie to Pay?

Alibaba and MasterCard are both working on additional authentication technologies for their payments applications. These new authentication features both involve snapping a photo, usually of the owner’s face, in a replacement for the fingerprint scan or PIN.

“The new generation, which is into selfies … I think they’ll find it cool. They’ll embrace it,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise safety and security for MasterCard, in an interview with CNN Money.

Apple weighed in recently with a purchase of a small California start-up Emollient, Inc, a facial expression AI company. Apple is tight-lipped as always about this acquisition, but one can easily assume this technology is to be paired with their overall mobile strategy. Back in October, they purchased VocalIQ, another small AI company that specializes in voice recognition.

The Wall Street Journal quoted an Apple spokeswoman: “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Artificial Intelligence technologies will likely be 2016’s buzzword with IBM monetizing Watson, Intel recently purchasing Saffron, and Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year’s Resolution including lofty AI goals.

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