If you're having a bad hair/skin/teeth/nose day, the last thing you probably need is software to tell you you're unattractive.
Yet that's precisely what a computational tool detailed today in the journal PLoS One promises to do. Using machine-learning techniques, it also examines images of faces for other social traits, such as competence, trustworthiness, meanness, dominance, and extroversion.
Needless to say, the software can't scientifically gauge your hotness or how likely you are to pay back a loan. It can only measure how your particular eye shape and grimace might be perceived and interpreted, a reaction that can vary from culture to culture depending on a host of factors.
Facial recognition, of course, is being used for everything from photo tagging to law enforcement and computer logins these days. This software takes the practice a step further in a high-tech continuation of research aimed at connecting facial shape and features to personality and character.
For example, "the perception of dominance has been shown to be an important part of social roles at different stages of life, and to play a role in mate selection," said Mario Rojas, a researcher from the Autonomous University of Barcelona who worked on the project with a team from Princeton University. If the information on which such evaluations are made could be automatically learned, he said, it could be modeled and used as a tool for designing better interactive computer systems. … Read more