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Artificial intelligence can predict your personality by scanning your eyes

Machine-learning algorithms demonstrate links between eye movements and four of the big five personality traits.

Eye lit up on huge digital display screen
Saul Gravy/Getty Images

"The eyes are the window of the soul." Cicero said that. But it's a bunch of baloney. 

Unless you're a state-of-the-art set of machine-learning algorithms with the ability to demonstrate links between eye movements and four of the big five personality traits.

If that's the case, then Cicero was spot on.

A joint project between the University of South Australia and the University of Stuttgart had an artificial intelligence track and monitor the eye movements of 42 human participants using a video-based eye-tracker from SensorMotoric Instruments. The researchers then cross-checked the findings with regular, well-established questionnaires.

Of the "big five" personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism), the artificial intelligence was able to reliably identify four: neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness.

According to the study, this is the first time eye movements have been used to identify personality traits, which is interesting in itself -- but the end goal, according to Tobias Loetscher from the University of South Australia, is to improve human-machine interactions at some point in the future.

"People are always looking for improved, personalised services," he explained. "However, today's robots and computers are not socially aware, so they cannot adapt to non-verbal cues.

"This research provides opportunities to develop robots and computers so that they can become more natural, and better at interpreting human social signals."

In the future the robots will be able to judge us for our terrible personalities before terminating us. Solid result.

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