Event News

Talk by Xiaolin Wu :"Automated Inference on Criminality using Face Images"


December 12 (Monday), 2016
National Institute of Informatics
20F, Room 2001
Automated Inference on Criminality using Face Images
Xiaolin Wu (McMaster University / Shanghai Jiao Tong University)
Talk abstract:
We study, for the first time, automated inference on criminality based solely on still face images, which is free of any biases of subjective judgments of human observers. Via supervised machine learning, we build four classifiers (logistic regression, KNN, SVM, CNN) using facial images of 1856 real persons controlled for race, gender, age and facial expressions, nearly half of whom were convicted criminals, for discriminating between criminals and noncriminals. All four classifiers perform consistently well and empirically establish the validity of automated face-induced inference on criminality, despite the historical controversy surrounding this line of enquiry. Also, some discriminating structural features for predicting criminality have been found by machine learning. Above all, the most important discovery of this research is that criminal and non-criminal face images populate two quite distinctive manifolds. The variation among criminal faces is significantly greater than that of the non-criminal faces. The two manifolds consisting of criminal and non-criminal faces appear to be concentric, with the non-criminal manifold lying in the kernel with a smaller span, exhibiting a law of ”normality” for faces of non-criminals. In other words, the faces of general law-biding public have a greater degree of resemblance compared with the faces of criminals, or criminals have a higher degree of dissimilarity in facial appearance than non-criminals.
Short bio:
Xiaolin Wu, Ph.D. in computer science, University of Calgary, Canada, 1988. Dr. Wu started his academic career in 1988, and has since been on the faculty of Western University, Canada, New York Polytechnic University (NYU Poly), and currently McMaster University, where he is a professor at the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and holds the NSERC senior industrial research chair in Digital Cinema. His research interests include image processing, network-aware visual computing and communication, multimedia signal coding, and multiple description coding. He has published over three hundred research papers and holds five patents in these fields. Dr. Wu is an IEEE fellow, a McMaster distinguished engineering professor, a past associated editor of IEEE Transactions on Image Processing and IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, and served on the technical committees of many IEEE international conferences/workshops. Dr. Wu received numerous international awards and honors.

The work was recently featured in MIT Technology Review: