Researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia have developed the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) system, a biometric mirror, that can detect and display personality traits of a subject simply by analyzing a photograph.
The”Biometric Mirror” was unveiled on Tuesday. It works by comparing the user’s data with thousands of other facial images in it’s database.
The data that biometric mirror uses is based on crowdsourced feedback on people’s facial appearance, project leader Dr Niels Wouters from the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces said.
When someone stands in front of Biometric Mirror, the system detects a range of facial characteristics in seconds. It then compares the user’s data to that of thousands of facial photos, which were evaluated for their psychometrics by a group of crowd-sourced responders.
Biometric Mirror displays 14 characteristics, from gender, age and ethnicity to attractiveness, weirdness and emotional stability. The longer a person stands there, the more personal the traits become.
The research project, led by Dr Niels Wouters from the Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces (SocialNUI) and Science Gallery Melbourne, explores the concerns this technology raises around consent, data storage and algorithmic bias.
“With the rise of AI and big data, government and businesses will increasingly use CCTV cameras and interactive advertising to detect emotions, age, gender and demographics of people passing by,” Dr Wouters said.
“Our study aims to provoke challenging questions about the boundaries of AI. It shows users how easy it is to implement AI that discriminates in unethical or problematic ways which could have societal consequences. By encouraging debate on privacy and mass-surveillance, we hope to contribute to a better understanding of the ethics behind AI.”