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Some consider selfies to be a narcissistic product of today’s social media-obsessed society, but one day those photos could be used for something important, like determining whether people qualify for life insurance.
USA Today reports that several life insurance companies are testing technology called Chronos from Lapetus Solutions Inc. It uses facial analysis and other data to estimate the life expectancy of the selfie’s subject, which is then used to decide policy approvals and pricing.
"Your face is something you wear all your life, and it tells a very unique story about you," says Karl Ricanek Jr., co-founder and chief data scientist at Lapetus, which is based in Wilmington, N.C.
The system can check factors such as body mass index, wrinkles, physiological age (as in how old you look), and whether you’re aging faster or slower than your actual age. Lapetus says Chronos could allow customers to buy life insurance online in as little as 10 minutes, just by sending a selfie and without requiring a medical exam.
Chronos would need to get regulatory approval from states to use it. Ricanek notes that while it can detect makeup, it can’t detect plastic surgery, which could be a problem for a system that determines how good or bad you look for your age.
Ricanek said Lapetus’ market research showed people were willing to share their selfies with insurers if it meant a quicker and easier application process and no medical. However, the main concern was that the technology might get its predictions completely wrong.