Speed Reads

a glimpse of the future?

Stanford professor predicts futuristic face scans will be able to determine your political beliefs

Could a quick face scan by artificial intelligence (AI) someday be able to determine whether you're liberal or conservative? Stanford University professor Michal Kosinski claims that AI will eventually be able to guess exactly that — and more.

Based off of just photos of people's faces, Kosinski told The Guardian that a computer program will be able to tell "whether they have high IQs, whether they are predisposed to criminal behavior, whether they have specific personality traits and many other private, personal details." "The face is an observable proxy for a wide range of factors, like your life history, your development factors, whether you're healthy," he said.

Kosinski was behind the controversial study published last week claiming that AI can guess a person's sexual orientation based off a photo of his or her face. While the AI was highly accurate in determining sexuality — it corrrectly identified sexual orientation in 91 percent of men — it wasn't always right, raising a slew of concerns and sparking controvesy with LGBTQ advocacy groups. GLAAD Chief Digital Officer Jim Halloran argued that "technology cannot identify someone's sexual orientation," and suggested that what the scientists' technology had actually recognized was "a pattern that found a small subset of out white gay and lesbian people on dating sites who look similar."

Similar questions inevitably arise with the prospect of using such technology to determine a person's criminal tendencies or intelligence level. Kosinski noted that AI would best be able to determine political affiliation for people who were far right or left, and less so for moderates.

But Kosinksi argued the technology could be useful in beneficial ways, such as determing which students may need more help in school. "The technologies sound very dangerous and scary on the surface, but if used properly or ethically, they can really improve our existence," Kosinski said.

Read the full story at The Guardian.