PW Interview: Stephen Balaban of Lamda Labs on the Face Recognition API

Ajay Ohri
Apr. 29 2013, 01:00PM EDT

This article features an interview with Stephen Balaban, founder of Lamda Labs, provider of the Face Recognition API. This API helps detect and classify people within photographs using machine learning.

Ajay- What are some of the key domains that Face Recognition API can help?

Stephen- We've seen many applications of Face Recognition at Lambda Labs. The key domains have been Facial Recognition for ad agencies, web applications, and mobile apps.

Ajay- How does the Lamda Labs Face Recognition API distinguish and differentiate itself from it's competitors?

Stephen- We actively ignore our competition and focus instead on our customers. Using a Lambda Labs API is a refreshing experience for developers because it was made by, and for, talented developers. We also give back to the Free Software and Open Source community. Just check out our github: https://github.com/lambdal.

Ajay- How does Mashape help with your API creation, deployment and maintenance process? How tough would it have been to create your API on your own?

Stephen- Mashape is one of those rare companies that actually cares. They respond to emails almost instantaneously, they always have an answer for our questions, and they quickly turn feedback into features. Without Mashape, we would be stuck managing payment and tolling infrastructure instead of focusing on our core competencies: machine learning and computer vision.

Ajay- What are some of the Privacy issues we face in technologies like Face recognition. How can technology help guard our privacy?

Stephen-The massive centralization of personal information by both enterprise and government is making citizens ask important questions about what privacy means going forward. I've discussed with others in the industry about standardized protocols that may help individuals maintain control over their privacy. Think Robot Exclusion Standard (robots.txt) for face recognition systems.

Ajay- How do you intend to help developers get enthused about your API and make more mashups, apps, and use it more?

Stephen-Hackers are naturally enthused about having their software do 'magical' things. APIs around the world, including our Computer Vision API, give hackers so much leverage that we don't need to get developers 'enthused' about the API; they just start hacking on it and show us what they've come up with.

Ajay- What are some of the key focus areas for growth for your API in 2013?

Stephen- We're extremely excited about Google Glass. In fact, our goal from the start was to bring amazing technology and experiences to Google Glass users; our API business is simply a way to fund ourselves while we wait for Glass to launch to consumers and industry

Face recognition, if handled properly, can make wearable computing projects, like Google Glass, even more social by helping developers create customized apps. Curious to know who’s that interesting person? Want to classify your wedding photos automatically and tag people. Tailored ads based on Facial Recognition?

It is just a (Lamda Labs) API call away!

Ajay Ohri is the author of R for Business Analytics and likes to write on Enterprise ,Cloud and Statistical APIs with an emphasis on interviews. Follow Ajay on Google+ and connect on LinkedIn

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