Can facial features reveal personality traits to profile potential criminals as well as consumers? A new tech company called “Faception” claims it can analyze people’s facial features to judge personality characteristics and determine if a person is a likely terrorist, criminal or a good potential customer.
Physiognomy is an age old belief that you can read and judge a person’s character and personality traits based on their facial features and outward physical appearance. The practice of physiognomy has gone in and out of fashion throughout history. However, physiognomy was widely discredited about 100 years ago. While there is no solid scientific evidence that supports the practice of physiognomy, there have been some recent studies showing that facial features can give some insights into people’s personalities and behaviors.
Faception is an Israeli technology company that is bringing the practice of physiognomy into the digital age. Faception claims to be able to determine people’s personality traits and criminal behaviors from their facial features in real time and with over 80% accuracy.
Faception uses computer vision and artificial intelligence technology to interpret 15 different identifiers on a person’s face to infer their personality type. The 15 facial identifiers that Faception analyzes are supposedly not recognized by the human eye.
Faception CEO Shai Gilboa claims that his company’s facial-interpretation technology understands people better than people understand each other. According to Gilboa, people’s personality traits are determined by their genes and a person’s “personality signals” show up on their face.
The Faception website lists eight personality classes that their software uses to categorize people: bingo player, professional poker player, brand promoter, High Q, academic researcher, white-collar offender, terrorist and pedophile. Computer algorithms analyze the images of people and place them into the categories. Each category describes a certain personality type’s traits, habits and behaviors.
The company says that their software can identify people who are likely terrorists, murderers or pedophiles. They claim that the Faception software was able to identify 9 out of 11 of the Paris attackers as terrorists by having the program analyze their pictures, with no additional information being given to the software program.
In addition, Faception has reportedly been used to successfully identify people who are introverts, extroverts, pedophiles, highly intelligent, expert card players and criminals.
Evidently, the software can even read a person’s “poker face.” Faception was field tested on 50 card players at an amateur poker contest, where it successfully identified 2 of the 3 amateur finalists by comparing their photos with photos of known professional poker players.
Obviously, disruptive facial profiling software like this raises a number of privacy and civil rights concerns with people. Privacy advocates and civil libertarians fear that this type of predictive criminal identification software could put innocent people on government watch lists before they have committed any crimes.
However, these privacy concerns and civil rights controversies don’t seem to be stopping the adoption of Faception. The United States Department of Homeland Security is reportedly already using the Faception software to identify potential terrorists and criminals. Several large corporations are also using Faception for consumer profiling.