Can a simple selfie really tell you when you’re going to die?
Not quite, but the emerging field of facial analytics can give you and your insurance company an educated guess.
According to a recent study, facial features are the best indicator of this ‘true’ age. The Face Aging Group at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington have built a ‘Face My Age’ programme which scans faces in photographs for biological age markers, and then extrapolates life expectancy based on an array of personal information such as age, gender, ethnicity, smoker or non-smoker etc.
A growing number of insurance companies are investing in this software, which will allow them to determine all manner of health factors from a single photo. This in turn can help them to calculate risks and estimate that person’s life expectancy before offering personal cover. So it stands to reason that submitting a selfie to insurers along with all of your other vital information could, at some point, become standard practice.
Not everybody is thrilled by this prospect, especially as it means certain high-risk individuals are less likely to be approved for insurance. “I think this is very creepy,” says Marc Gander, founder of the Consumer Action Group.