THINK YOU'VE got a good gaydar? Check out this computer, who, its handlers claim can detect your sexuality from a photograph with a level of accuracy greater than that of a human.
A study by Stanford University was able to detect gay men from straight men with an 81 per cent accuracy, and lesbians from straight women with a 74 per cent accuracy. Compare this to humans - 61 per cent for men, 54 per cent for women.
However, this raises a moral dilemma. Is the AI proving that there is some mysterious algorithm to facial features that is linked to your sexuality? Or is it some pretty hardcore stereotyping?
And if it really is possible, surely a tool like this could be abused by anti-gay groups to target their hate-crimes on the "correct" targets?
The source data came from a dating website, where 35,000 pictures and their stated sexuality were loaded into the neural network. After succeeding with single images, the accuracy of the algorithm increased to 91 per cent when five images of the person were used.
In the introduction to the paper, the team explains: "Consistent with the prenatal hormone theory of sexual orientation, gay men and women tended to have gender-atypical facial morphology, expression, and grooming styles."
"Those findings advance our understanding of the origins of sexual orientation and the limits of human perception. Additionally, given that companies and governments are increasingly using computer vision algorithms to detect people's intimate traits, our findings expose a threat to the privacy and safety of gay men and women."
So although this study presents ethical quandaries over the potential misuse of the results - imagine a totalitarian state having access to it, it's the stuff of Black Mirror-esque nightmares - what it does seem to show categorically is that humans are what they are - they're genetically gay or straight, any anyone who tries to "cure them" is going against nature (oh, the irony!).
And if all is that true, stand by for AI that can tell your political leanings, favourite brand of washing powder and kinks. Good luck Hyperface. Privacy? What privacy? µ
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