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Machines Learn Appearance Bias in Face Recognition

2020-02-13 17:09:27
Ryan Steed, Aylin Caliskan


We seek to determine whether state-of-the-art, black box face recognition techniques can learn first-impression appearance bias from human annotations. With FaceNet, a popular face recognition architecture, we train a transfer learning model on human subjects' first impressions of personality traits in other faces. We measure the extent to which this appearance bias is embedded and benchmark learning performance for six different perceived traits. In particular, we find that our model is better at judging a person's dominance based on their face than other traits like trustworthiness or likeability, even for emotionally neutral faces. We also find that our model tends to predict emotions for deliberately manipulated faces with higher accuracy than for randomly generated faces, just like a human subject. Our results lend insight into the manner in which appearance biases may be propagated by standard face recognition models.

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