A face-scanning algorithm increasingly decides whether you deserve the job

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HireVue claims it uses artificial intelligence to decide who’s best for a job. Outside experts call it ‘profoundly disturbing.’

This video by HireVue explains the tech firm’s artificial intelligence-driven assessments for potential job candidates. (HireVue)

An artificial intelligence hiring system has become a powerful gatekeeper for some of America’s most prominent employers, reshaping how companies assess their workforce — and how prospective employees prove their worth.

Designed by the recruiting-technology firm HireVue, the system uses candidates’ computer or cellphone cameras to analyze their facial movements, word choice and speaking voice before ranking them against other applicants based on an automatically generated “employability” score.

HireVue’s “AI-driven assessments” have become so pervasive in some industries, including hospitality and finance, that universities make special efforts to train students on how to look and speak for best results. More than 100 employers now use the system, including Hilton and Unilever, and more than a million job seekers have been analyzed.

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Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

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Facial recognition can help unlock your phone. Could it also be able to play a far more valuable role in people’s lives by identifying whether or not a person has a rare genetic disorder, based exclusively on their facial features? DeepGestalt, an artificial intelligence built by the Boston-based tech company FDNA, suggests that the answer is a resounding “yes.”

The algorithm is already being used by leading geneticists at more than 2,000 sites in upward of 130 countries around the world. In a new study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers show how the algorithm was able to outperform clinicians when it came to identifying diseases.

The study involved 17,000 kids with 200-plus genetic disorders. Its best performance came in distinguishing between different subtypes of a genetic disorder called Noonan syndrome, one of whose symptoms includes mildly unusual facial features. The A.I. was able to make the correct distinction 64 percent of the time. That is far from perfect, but it is significantly better than human clinicians, who identified Noonan syndrome correctly in just 20 percent of cases.

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