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A computer tells your government you’re 91% gay. Now what?

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A fascinating and horrifying new AI algorithm is able to predict your sexual orientation with 91% accuracy from five photographs of your face. According to the researchers, the human brain isn’t wired to read this data from a face, but according to these results, it is there, and an AI can detect it. This raises a bigger issue: who will have access to AI in the future, and what will they use it for?

The article in The Guardian is fascinating and scary. It describes new research that is able to predict with 91% accuracy if a man is homosexual, based on just five photographs of the face. Similarly, it has a 83% precision in predicting homosexuality in women. This makes the AI leaps and bounds better than its human counterparts, who got the responses 61% and 54% correct, respectively — more or less a coin toss, useless as a measure. The researchers describe how the human brain apparently isn’t wired to detect signs that are clearly present in the face of an individual, signs that are demonstrably detectable.

Normally, this would just be a curiosity, akin to “computer is able to detect subject’s eye color using camera equipment”. But this particular detection has very special, and severe, repercussions. In many countries, this particular eye color — this sexual orientation — happens to be illegal. If you were born this way, you’re criminal. Yes, it’s ridiculous. They don’t care. The punishments go all the way up to the death penalty.

So what happens when a misanthropic ruler finds this AI, and decides to run it against the passport and driver license photo databases?

What happens when the bureaucracy in a country decides you’re 91% gay, based on an unaccountable machine, regardless of what you think?

This highlights a much bigger

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