A new study, from Yilun Wang and Michal Kosinski from Stanford University, has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology which claims that AI can now determine the sexuality of a person four out of five times. The two researchers have expressed their fears from the findings saying that the technology could be abused.
In the study, the pair wrote:
“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.”
The AI was fed 130,741 images of volunteers who had defined their sexual preferences to the researchers, this was then fed to the AI in order to learn what hetero- and homosexual people look like. The AI had an accuracy of 81% (for men) when given one picture to look at but this rose to 91% when fed five photos of a person. Regarding women, the AI could detect their sexuality with 74% accuracy, this rose to 83% after given five photos.
One of the few positive conclusions from this study is that it helps us understand a bit better how sexuality works – the study may lend some credence to the theory that a person’s sexual orientation may be affected by their exposure to various hormones before birth.