An Algorithm That ‘Predicts’ Criminality Based on a Face Sparks a Furor

Jun 26, 2020

two professors and a graduate student had developed a facial-recognition program that could predict whether someone would be a criminal. The release said the paper would be published in a collection by Springer Nature, a big academic publisher.

its algorithm could predict “if someone is a criminal based solely on a picture of their face.” The press release has since been deleted from the university website.

Tuesday, more than 1,000 machine-learning researchers, sociologists, historians, and ethicists released a public letter condemning the paper, and Springer Nature confirmed on Twitter it will not publish the research.

Coalition for Critical Technology (CCT), said the paper’s claims “are based on unsound scientific premises, research, and methods which … have [been] debunked over the years.” The letter argues it is impossible to predict criminality without racial bias, “because the category of ‘criminality’ itself is racially biased.”

But if the data used to build those algorithms is biased, the algorithms’ predictions will also be biased. Because of the racially skewed nature of policing in the US, the letter argues, any predictive algorithm modeling criminality will only reproduce the biases already reflected in the criminal justice system.

Because reality doesn’t skew the way these social justice warriors want, they want to change the way we perceive this reality. Power of minority privilege. Everything is done to not subjugate or be intolerant towards non whites.

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