Facial recognition can predict political orientation
Ubiquitous facial recognition technology can expose individuals’ political orientation, as faces of liberals and conservatives consistently differ. A facial recognition algorithm was applied to naturalistic images of 1,085,795 individuals to predict their political orientation by comparing their similarity to faces of liberal and conservative others. Political orientation was correctly classified in 72% of liberal–conservative face pairs, remarkably better than chance (50%), human accuracy (55%), or one afforded by a 100-item personality questionnaire (66%). Accuracy was similar across countries (the U.S., Canada, and the UK), environments (Facebook and dating websites), and when comparing faces across samples. Accuracy remained high (69%) even when controlling for age, gender, and ethnicity. Given the widespread use of facial recognition, our findings have critical implications for the protection of privacy and civil liberties.
A part of our development as humans is learning about ourselves and the world, and through reflection on who we are and want to be, we gradually form our system of beliefs—including political orientation.
I wonder: can this technology accurately predict our worldview before we're aware of it ourselves? If not already true, it seems likely soon, along with a whole lot more. As the brilliant Yuval Noah Harari says, "We need to learn who we are before algorithms decide for us."