Face recognition is the automated recognition of a face or the automated identification, measuring and description of features of a face. In the 21st century, it is increasingly attempted to connect to the pseudoscience of physiognomy, which has its origins in ancient times. From the appearance of persons, a conclusion is drawn to their inner self, and attempts are made to identify character traits, personality traits and temperament, or political and sexual orientation. Biometrics plays a role in this concept. It was founded in the eighteenth century, when physiognomy under the lead of Johann Caspar Lavater had its dubious climax. In the paper “The Uncanny Return of Physiognomy”, the basic principles of this topic are elaborated; selected projects from research and practice are presented and, from an ethical perspective, the possibilities of face recognition are subjected to fundamental critique in this context, including the above examples. Oliver Bendel will present his paper in March 2018 at Stanford University (“AI and Society: Ethics, Safety and Trustworthiness in Intelligent Agents”, AAAI 2018 Spring Symposium Series).
Fig.: The uncanny return of physiognomy