AI discovers that not every fingerprint is unique

Columbia engineers have built a new AI that shatters a long-held belief in forensics–that fingerprints from different fingers of the same person are unique. It turns out they are similar, only we’ve been comparing fingerprints the wrong way!

From “Law and Order” to “CSI,” not to mention real life, investigators have used fingerprints as the gold standard for linking criminals to a crime. But if a perpetrator leaves prints from different fingers in two different crime scenes, these scenes are very difficult to link, and the trace can go cold.

It’s a well-accepted fact in the forensics community that fingerprints of different fingers of the same person–”intra-person fingerprints”–are unique, and therefore unmatchable. More