Can AI detect if you’re gay, based on your face?

“Under some conditions, yes”, is what a study found, and it has gained some controversy around it.

Here’s the study, in case you want to check it out for yourself:

The conditions are:

  • you have got to be white
  • you have got to be an American person
  • you have to be extroverted enough to publish your information on a dating website
  • you have to be between 18 and 40 years old
  • you have to identify yourself as either male or female
  • you have to identify yourself as straight or gay/lesbian (no spectrum)

Given this was the case, the system would be able to pick up only from your photos if you were heterosexual or homosexual about 74% of the time.

Regarding the controversy, it goes like this:

  • people claim this is not a good representation of who all people are
  • people claim it is not a representation of the LGBT community at all
  • people claim it’s dangerous to prove that something like this could even be done when there are countries where you’d be killed for being gay

The researchers did address those concerns. The first two are easy to dismiss: “yes, the study has limitations” is what they said, and that’s understandable. Studies go baby steps into making assertions, so that it can slowly be generalized.

On the last one, it’s a bigger question. Are we (humanity) ready for this knowledge?

Here’s a nice summary of the debate at Mashable:

What do you think?

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