Can a Photo of Your Face Reveal Your Political Ideology?



For some folks, their politics are a very public matter. For others, ideological beliefs are extra of a personal concern. However what does it imply if an algorithm can appropriately guess somebody’s politics simply from taking a look at a {photograph} of them? Based on a new article by Devin Coldewey at TechCrunch, that day is upon us — and the implications are each wide-ranging and alarming.

The article explores the latest study from Stanford College researcher Michal Kosinski. If his title sounds acquainted, it’s as a result of his work has been within the headlines earlier than, together with from a 2017 examine that extrapolated sexuality from pictures and a 2013 examine that used Fb “likes” to foretell persona traits.

In a 2018 interview with Vox, Kosinski mentioned, “My overarching aim is to attempt to perceive folks, social processes, and habits higher by way of the lens of digital footprints.” For this newest mission, Coldewey writes, researchers confirmed a machine studying system over a million photos taken from courting websites, cropped to take away as many background components as doable. The faces belonged to individuals who had recognized as liberal or conservative on the aforementioned courting websites.

When people are requested to determine which of two faces belongs to a liberal and which belongs to a conservative, they typically choose with round 55% accuracy. The algorithm, in the meantime, has between 71% and 73% accuracy, relying on the pictures it was proven.

A minimum of some of the elements that knowledgeable the examine had much less to do with bodily options and extra to do with presentation. As Kosinski wrote, “Liberals tended to face the digital camera extra immediately, had been extra prone to specific shock, and fewer prone to specific disgust.”

Very similar to his earlier research, Kosinski’s newest gives lots to consider — and it opens the door to a host of questions on nonverbal cues, privateness and the place this all may be going.

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