Facial-Recognition Technology Developments

AI prediction of criminal propensity, political leanings, sexual identity

A Stanford University professor, Michal Kosinski, recently stated that computer algorithms can, with high accuracy rates, determine from photographs a person’s conservative or liberal political leanings, whether a person is gay or straight, determine the person’s intelligence level, and a person’s predisposition for criminal behavior. “The face is an observable proxy for a wide range of factors, like your life history, your development factors, whether you’re healthy.” It would be easy, according to the professor, for an algorithm to determine if a person is a psychopath or has high tendencies towards criminal behavior.

Professor Kosinski was quoted as saying, “The technologies sound very dangerous and scary on the surface, but if used properly or ethically, they can really improve our existence.” Critics have concerns about the artificial intelligence relying on biased data and algorithms, and possible error “is particularly alarming in the context of criminal justice, where machines could make decisions about people’s lives – such as the length of a prison sentence or whether to release someone on bail – based on biased data from a court and policing system that is racially prejudiced at every step.”
Sources:  Sam Levin, “Face-reading AI will be able to detect your politics and IQ, professor says,” theguardian.com, September 12, 2017:

U.S. Navy funds research team for widespread computer surveillance

A research team at Cornell University received a grant from the U.S. Navy for development of a computer system that can “conduct surveillance as a single entity with many eyes.” The system, Convolutional-Features Analysis and Control for Mobile Visual Scene Perception, links robotic surveillance systems to “identify objects and track objects and people from place to place.”

Sources:  Jasper Hamill, “BIG BRO-BOT U.S. Navy funds development of robot surveillance system which can spy on humans in incredible detail,” thesun.co.uk, April 11, 2017:
“New Grant! Convolutional-Feature Analysis and Control for Mobile Visual Scene Perception,” Lisc.mae.cornell.edu, February 22, 2017: http://lisc.mae.cornell.edu/wordpress/?p=196

by Neil Leithauser
Associate Editor