More than skin-deep

An Israeli start-up called Faception says it has developed a technology that can read your basic personality by looking for character traits in your face that are undetectable otherwise. Whether this turns out to be a confidence trick or a case of misplaced enthusiasm — as many business launches are — we’ll have to wait and see.

According to Faception it can allocate people’s faces into 15 types, with 80% accuracy, varying from extroverts, pedophiles, geniuses, white collar-criminals and so on. It says that it’s already signed a contract with a homeland security agency to help identify terrorists.

There cannot be a more complex criss-crossing of muscles than those under the skin of the human face, and various permutations of these will correlate sensitively with our most frequent emotions.

Even if we are not expressing emotions outwardly — indeed, trying to disguise or restrain them on occasion — neurophysiologists tell us that the muscles responsible for showing our emotions are twitching microscopically all the same. Perhaps Faception’s technology can pick up the infra-red warmth that even these movements radiate to the outward world.

We’ll have to way and see for the verdict on Faception. At face value (sic!) this technology could be another invasion of privacy by government or other parties trying to exploit us. On the other hand, it could be a welcome aid that will protect us from terrorism — which is rapidly becoming the prevalent form of warfare in modern times.

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