back to article AI can now tell if you're a criminal or not

Through machine learning, researchers have repeated the historic criminology experiment of telling criminals apart from law-abiding people using facial recognition. Physiognomy, the ability to judge a person’s character from appearance alone, has been around since ancient Greece and was widely accepted by philosophers. …

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Joke

Hope Homeland Security aren't reading this.

They have all the equipment to instantly identity potential criminals at the border and deny them entry.

Plus a database of all the ones they let in by mistake before this technology was available.

I would have found the study more convincing if it had been based on passport photos. All of mine make me look like a retarded criminal (ummmm.......) and a small sample from others are equally unflattering.

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Re: Hope Homeland Security aren't reading this.

"Passport pictures are what people really look like." --- Talking Heads, "Stop Making Sense" liner notes

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Trollface

On an optimistic note...

"Duck face" poses accentuate the characteristics the software is looking for, so most selfie-takers will soon be arrested.

Clearly a fine, upstanding chap ------------------->

(Compare with the all the other icons for extra fun)

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Politicians

I'd like that program to be run with a set of politician pictures.

Compare the results with known crooks liars and cheats that backstab the voters :)

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Stats 101

Compare two relatively small sample groups on a chosen criterion and you'll find statistical differences anyway, even without the more sophisticated criticisms above. You might find, say, that known criminals are more likely to prefer noodles to rice - so noodle eaters are potential crooks? Or that one group have 19% more chance of liking Man United than Man City or whatever.

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Anonymous Coward

Does it detect witches? We all know how criminal they are.

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Anonymous Coward

burn'im!!!!

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Anonymous Coward

wouldn't it be wonderful

if it worked? You could put in, say, at the entrance to... uh-uh, let's voice in public any terrorist ideas!

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Headmaster

So...

Getting beaten up in prison is merely a case of percussive maintenance with a solid scientific justification in retrophrenology? Perhaps I should write a paper on the strongly anthropic interpretation of the slipperiness of soap in the context of anti-recidivism.

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Coat

So basically "He's a wrong'un. I can tell by his face" will become legally admissible.

f**k me sideways.

And by the way "Although the theory has generally been disbanded,"

Discredited I think?

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That should be 'bad criminals' who have been caught

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Inherently self-contradictory

A claim of "no biases whatsoever due to past experience" except that they made it work by feeding it a "A dataset of 1,856 facial profiles".

it has nothing BUT biases based on past experiences. That's how it works.

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I remember reading a comment on another story about AI. Short version: In the eighties the US fed high quality photos of their kit and grainy photos of Russian kit into a system. Pretty soon the error rate was near zero percent. Of course what it learnt was the difference between high quality and low quality photos, not the characteristics of different machine.

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Boffin

Chicken or egg...

The computer may not be biased, but how do we know that the reason these people became criminals wasn't due to them be treated subtly differently by the rest of society based on existing prejudice?

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Anonymous Coward

Must be

the beginning of a new era in plastic surgery. Late night tv - "Got a face like a criminal? Come see us." "Poor Johnny couldn't leave his house without fear of getting arrested what with his beady little eyes, and mouth like a hydra. After our in-home procedure, he now bears a striking resemblance to the late Marty Feldman, but he hasn't been arrested once. "

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Joke

This can't go wrong

Definitely won't go wrong ... definitely won't be fed the entire population of US Prisons and conclude that "black" means "criminal".

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Pint

"Although the theory has generally been disbanded..."

Disbanded ?

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Paris Hilton

Re: "Although the theory has generally been disbanded..."

Discredited to the point that all adherents have disassociated from the theory?

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Facepalm

"Criminal"?

The law is arbitrary, changeable and often capricious. In country A(merica) I may not be a criminal because there is no law against (say) free speech but in country C(hina) I would be a criminal. Pretty sure my head shape doesn't change between the two countries.

Perhaps the head shape of the lawmakers is a better guide to the criminality of the people?

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Just curious

What exactly is the definition of "criminality"?

Does it exclude, say, rich individuals who manage to find ways round tax laws, but include drunks who damage a bit of property? Does it exclude wealthy politicians who paint slogans on the side of a bus about giving millions to the NHS, but include people who claim that they are going to share millions of GBP that are in a Nigerian bank account? Does it exclude Bingo hall and betting shop owners/managers who install machines that swallow addicted punters' money but include sellers of soft drugs and practitioners of the three card trick? And considering the provenance of this, does it include people who criticise the Chinese Govt?

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Anonymous Coward

I would be interested to know

If there have ever been any real studies into what makes people criminals, i.e. breaking the law

From my naivety I would presume any study would have to distinguish between those that commit crime because they do so or starve from those with an excess of resources who commit crime for reasons other than necessity.

Given that in the Western world the laws are very strict upon ownership and yet do not guaranty a minimum quality life for their citizens so as to prevent them falling into the "crime by necessity" bracket one wonders who actually have the most negative effect upon society.

The UK for example used to have pride in it's social safetynet but now we have vulnerable,homeless and starving citizens across the country in real need being ignored whilst we send charity abroad. The same charity money ends up back in the pockets of the UK people promoting the destruction of that safetynet along with the idea that the destitute were somehow to blame for their situation.

I do not need a machine to tell me who the real criminals are, their actions make them stand out clearly enough but I have no doubt that they will never be punished for their deeds until the law applies to ever citizen rather than just those the police are allowed to prosecute

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Byzantine failure.

Machines do however break down, sometimes in byzantine ways that causes error in judgement.

A machine that may have been struck by lightning in the past may not fail immediately, but will become more and more error prone before failing.

So how can you trust the output of the machine if you can't tell if the machine is failing or not?

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Good old Constable Savage could spot a criminal:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO8EpfyCG2Y

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WTF?

Two pages before a Constable Savage reference?! What is The Register Comentariat coming to?

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Sounds like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5dy9URkLFI

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Coat

The leaderboard dudes at beauty.ai are all pretty funny looking

In a general sort of way.

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Yes, but for the sake of the planet we have to reduce the population somehow, so this will make a starting point......next brown eyes or blue eyes...hmmm?

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