A Computer Designed to Determine Gender

By adding an audio signal to such a system, Sharma has demonstrated that its accuracy can be increased significantly. Some day, perhaps, an airline pilot may just say "hi" to a camera and be cleared to pass through the security gate without even so much as a pause. The system will recognize precisely who she or he is.

Sharma sees all sorts of other applications, such as marketing research. It could tell whether more men or more women climbed behind the wheel of a fancy sports car on a showroom floor, or which gender favored a particular brand of coffee.

These advances are always a bit troubling to some folks who see computers as an easier way for others to invade our privacy.

It probably won't be long before a system like Sharma's will gaze into our eyes and tell the sales person whether we can make the payments on that fancy car. Or it may even tell our significant other that we fell off our diet and swiped a chocolate eclair while we were supposed to be picking up the broccoli for dinner.

But there's lots to be said for systems that can tell us, for certain, that the person sitting in the pilot's seat deserves to be there.

Lee Dye’s column appears weekly on ABCNEWS.com. A former science writer for the Los Angeles Times, he now lives in Juneau, Alaska.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Firefighters rescue a woman who got stuck in a chimney in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Ventura County Fire Department
PHOTO: Apple Pay is demonstrated at Apple headquarters on Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
PHOTO: Up in Ash: Mount Sinabung Erupting
Tibt Nangin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
PHOTO: Defendant Jodi Arias testifies about killing Travis Alexander in 2008 during her murder trial in Phoenix, Feb. 20, 2013.
Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic/AP Photo
PHOTO: Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, their daughter North West and Delphine Arnault attend the Givenchy show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015, Sept. 28, 2014 in Paris.
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/French Select/Getty Images