When Your Face Reveals How Long You'll Live

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By Indrani Bhattacharyya | July 3, 2014 11:55 AM EST

Face, the mirror of the soul, might be an old truth, but science is making it far more interesting meanwhile. Facial recognition technology, a widely used approach in identifying criminals and tracing missing people, may become a personalised tool to predict one’s life span.

Reuters
Facial recognition technology, a widely used approach in identifying criminals and tracing missing people, may become a personalized tool to predict one’s life span.

“We know in the field of aging that some people tend to senesce, or grow older, more rapidly than others, and some more slowly,” said Jay Olshansky, a biodemographer at the University of Illinois at Chicago who came up with the idea. We also know that the children of people who senesce more slowly tend to live longer than other people. The research is still in its early stages, but the idea of using facial recognition technology has prompted interest from insurance company executives who see potential for using it in determining premiums.”

The technology involves scanning a photograph of the subject while keeping into account the fact that the race, gender, age, smoking and drinking history, educational background of every individual will be some key determining factors. There will be detailed analysis of cheek, jowl, dark spots, wrinkles and other age-related expressions, followed by a comparative study involving more data from similar age group people to figure out the exact status of one’s longevity.

“Increasing life expectancy by 2.2 years by slowing aging would save $7.1 trillion in disability and entitlement programs over 50 years, according to a paper in Health Affairs, co-authored by Olshansky who is also a research associate at the University of Chicago’s Center on Aging.”

Another interesting part is “they have launched a Web site inviting anyone in the world to submit a photo. The database they are developing, called Face My Age, is expected to deliver increasingly more accurate assessments and predictions as more people participate.”

Will they succeed? Only time can say.

The world can only hope for the best.

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(Photo: Reuters / Jessica Rinaldi)
Facial recognition technology, a widely used approach in identifying criminals and tracing missing people, may become a personalized tool to predict one’s life span.
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