Saturday, 9 September 2017


Via the always engrossing Nag on the Lake, we are confronted with a rather fraught and ethically challenging application of machine learning after researchers imbue an artificial intelligence with gaydar.
It’s not perfect and perhaps it is picking up on some other sign that we’re overlooking, but by studying the facial features in just a single photo, the neural network was fairly accurate, approaching the eightieth percentile for both men and women, and raises interesting questions about the role of biology in sexual orientation—a debate that’s not settled here but that we also couldn’t have concluded on our own, apparently. And as potentially annoying as the prospect already seems, it’s not just about targeting demographics with advertisements that the computer thinks you might also like—but could also be abused to malicious out individuals and could be quite harrowing for those in positions or communities that are not open to such behaviour or sentiments. What do you think? It’s really no one’s business—and even trusted those algorithms that claim anonymity and discretion all end up tattletales, and the programme is not one hundred percent accurate and generates mischaracterisations and wrong assignments.