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Facebook can predict your death

We recently told you about Google’s ambitions to take its predictive models and machine learning expertise to clinics and hospitals everywhere.

With the use of artificial intelligence, Google hopes that its algorithms will predict if a patient is likely to die, among other things.

But it turns out it’s not just Google that has plans to enter the mortality prediction game. Another tech giant with a similar massive database of information about its users has similar creepy rights including one that can predict when you are likely to die!

Creepy Facebook Patents

The New York Times recently published an article about the various creepy patents that Facebook has applied for. According to the article, Facebook has already filed thousands of these patent applications since it went public in 2012.

From analyzing your emotions via your selfie camera to using your phone’s microphone to determine what TV show you are watching, the patent applications reveal Facebook’s plans to track almost every aspect of its users’ behaviors.

Although Facebook claims that these patent applications are not indications of its future plans, we can’t blame you if you’re suspicious of the social media giant’s motives in this post-Cambridge Analytica world.

Here are some of the most audacious Facebook patent applications we’ve seen so far:

  • Predicting when you are likely to die – This Facebook patent application details how the company can use your posts, messages and even your location and credit card transactions to predict when major life events such as a birth, graduation and yes, death, are likely to occur.
  • Identifying your camera – Now this is quite inventive. This patent application considers analyzing your pictures to create your gadget’s unique camera “signature.” This involves analyzing a picture’s evidence of faulty pixels or lens scratches to identify individual cameras.
  • Using your phone’s mic to monitor your environment – With all the talk about always-listening gadgets, this patent application won’t help Facebook’s case at all. According to the application, Facebook is exploring ways to use your phone’s microphone to identify TV shows and whether ads were muted. It also apparently proposes a bit of tech magic by using your TV power cable’s electrical interference patterns to guess which shows are playing.
  • Judging your personality – With shades of Cambridge Analytica, this patent application proposes a way to judge your personality traits like extroversion, openness or emotional stability by using your posts and messages. This finding will then be used for targeted ads and news stories.
  • Establishing routine – This patent application may have its uses but it’s creepy none the less. This application proposes a form of weekly routine tracking and whenever a deviation from the norm is detected, it will send a notification to other users. This application also describes a way of using your phone’s nightly location to determine where you live.
  • Using location to track down your sleeping habits (and your social life) – This patent application proposes a comparison of your phone’s location with the locations of your friends’ phones to determine who you socialize with the most. Interestingly, it will also monitor when your phone is stationary to track how many hours you sleep.
  • Snooping on your romances – This application describes a way of predicting whether you’re in a romantic relationship by tracking how many times you visit another user’s page, the number of people in your profile picture and the percentage of your friends of a different gender.

Now, all these proposed technologies may or may not be in Facebook’s pipeline, but it’s a clear indication that the company wants more predictive behavioral tools in its arsenal, on top of the enormous amount of information it already has. Again, the question is – Are you OK with that?

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