Saturday, July 05, 2014

Can your face reveal how long you’ll live?

New technology may provide an answer

By Tara Bahrampour — July 2, WashPost

Imagine that an insurance underwriter comes to your house and, along with noting your weight and blood pressure, snaps a photo of your face. And that those wrinkles, mottled spots and saggy parts, when fed into a computer, could estimate how long you will live.

Facial recognition technology, long used to search for criminals and to guess how a missing child might look as an adult, may soon become personal. A group of scientists is working on a system that would analyze an individual’s prospects based on how his or her face has aged.

“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. “And 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, Olshansky said. There’s also a potential benefit for individuals: The technology might prod them to change their health habits before it’s too late.

(More here.)

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