AI tech exaggerates biases in facial age perception more than humans

January 06, 2023

Artificial intelligence is the future. In fact, it’s already here. One of the latest advancements is using it for automatically estimating age based on a person’s face, a technology used for determining who can enter a bar or potentially view age-restricted content online.

But are there biases in AI processing? Researchers from Western University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel) tested a large sample of the prominent major AI technologies available today and found not only did they reproduce human biases in the recognition of facial age, but they exaggerated those biases.

The findings were published in Scientific Reports.

Estimates of a person’s age from their facial appearance suffer from several well-known human biases and inaccuracies. Past studies from this international research team have proved individuals tend to overestimate the age of people with smiling faces compared to those with a neutral expressions, and the accuracy of our estimates decreases for older faces.

“The growing interest in age estimation using technology raises the question of how AI compares to human performance and whether it suffers from the same biases,” said senior author Melvyn A. Goodale, Western Institute for Neuroscience. “Our results showed AI is even less accurate and more biased than human observers when judging a person’s age – even though the overall pattern of errors and biases is similar.”

Read the full story by Jeff Renaud at Western News