Sign In

Communications of the ACM

Law and technology

When Machine Learning is Facially Invalid


View as: Print Mobile App ACM Digital Library In the Digital Edition Share: Send by email Share on reddit Share on StumbleUpon Share on Hacker News Share on Tweeter Share on Facebook
pattern mapped face, illustration

Credit: MetamorWorks

Machine learning researchers have stirred controversy by claiming our faces may reveal our sexual orientation and intelligence.a Using a database of prisoners' faces, some have even developed stereotyped images of criminal features.b A start-up now claims it can deploy facial recognition to identify pedophiles and terrorists.c Facial inferences via machine learning are deeply troubling. When such methods of pattern recognition are used to classify persons, they overstep a fundamental boundary between objective analysis and moral judgment. When such moral judgments are made, people deserve a chance to understand and contest them.

The machine learning community must decide whether to improve such facial inference work or shun it. This column explores what each approach would entail. Better, more representative data could save the facial inference project from its worst tendencies. However, there are some scientific research programs best not pursued—and this might be one of them.


 

No entries found

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.
  

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.