A pair of scientists, Christoffer Nellåker and Andrew Zisserman, from the University of Oxford have apparently developed software is able to detect rare genetic disorders from just facial recognition.
From the New Scientist article posted today:
“Doctors faced with the tricky task of spotting rare genetic diseases in children may soon be asking parents to email their family photos. A computer program can now learn to identify rare conditions by analysing a face from an ordinary digital photograph. It should even be able to identify unknown genetic disorders if groups of photos in its database share specific facial features.”
There are about 90 disorders that the system can currently detect. Not surprisingly, it’s not 100% accurate yet; you’ll need a doctor’s follow-up on the results. You won’t be loading your iPhone with a selfie from your kid to diagnose it yourself. But it’s definitely good enough to warrant a check from a doctor to help decide whether they should test further. It’s not crazy to think of a world, only a few years away, where every child’s photo is run through this check as part of his or her physical. With many doctors already running around using iPads with cameras, it certainly would be fairly cheap and easy to drop into their workflow.
If this technology can extend to detecting relational features of the face, then Maury’s going to have to find a new schtick. The people coming onto the show for “You Are The Father” would see it coming instead of being quite so surprised.