If you have watched “2001: A Space Odyssey”, then you are already conversant with the existing fear that artificial intelligence(AI) may one day become more intelligent to the point of turning on us.
Nevertheless, computer scientists from Stuttgart and Saarbrucken appear not to be moved by such a prospect.
Based on a new study, experts have created software with the potential to identify personality traits by tracking eye movements. “There are already some studies in the field of emotion recognition through facial expression analysis.
But this is the first time we’ve managed to establish personal traits, “claimed Andreas Bulling in an interview held with Business Insider.
The head of “Perceptual User Interfaces”, a research group situated at the Saarland University’s Max Planck Institute for Computer Science in Saarbrucken, partnered with psychologists from the University of South Australia and Scientists from Stuttgart to create software that can identify character traits through tracking eye movements. The study revealed that personal traits are more stable compared to emotions.
To carry out their research, the scientists involved 50 students, all equipped with eye-trackers for recording their eye movements.
Fitted the trackers, they would walk across their campus for about 10 minutes and purchase something from any of the campus shops. What ’s more, subjects were requested to complete questionnaires that are commonly utilized in assessing people’s personality traits.
The researchers relied on more than 200 markers including to what extent the subjects’ pupils dilated, how long they focused on a particular object and the frequency with which their eyes blinked.
Thanks to the gathered data, the scientists were able to create “decision trees” for various personality traits. Doing so allowed the software to spot the specified characteristics.
Through eye tracking, the new software can recognize whether someone is tolerant, sociable, conscientious and to what level they may be emotionally unstable. However, the fact that the AI does not require updates at all makes it even more special. In fact, it is a piece of software with machine-learning capabilities.
“It’s novel in itself that this kind of software works at all,” said Andreas Bulling. According to him, emotions can vary depending on the different situation, which means that they change quickly and regularly.
On the other hand, character traits are more stable. “Initially, it wasn’t clear that it was possible to assess character traits from eye movements,” said the expert.
The next phase for the scientists is to enhance the performance of the software. For instance, they intend to focus on evaluating body language.
In addition, the experts have also indicated that even though they have no plans of integrating the software into hardware, there is room for applying the software in the robotics space.
“Like anything, what we have made can be utilized for both good and bad,” said Bulling. However, he hopes that the groundbreaking software will result in better and more authentic interaction between machine and man.
In fact, if the software is fully developed, it could even be utilized in assisting people suffering from autism.