Saturday, April 16, 2022

Asymmetry and Fake LinkedIn Profiles

Researchers in human evolution, and writers who present their research to a popular readership, have long known that bodily asymmetry is an indicator of general genetic health. Mutations, toxins, and disease can lead to bodily asymmetry, especially facial asymmetry. In mate selection, one mate can assess the health of the other mate by seeing his or her facial symmetry. If the left side doesn’t line up with the right, that might mean something somewhere is wrong.

People with facial symmetry are esteemed as beautiful and healthy. And these are also the faces that corporations want to present as representatives to their customers. You are much more likely to respond positively to a sales rep with a symmetrical face.

Corporations have used this fact to generate thousands of fake profiles (for example, on LinkedIn). These fake beautiful people will make you want to consider doing business with the corporations that they represent.

How do you know that an online personality is a real person? You can’t. It’s as simple as that. But there are some things you can look for. Back when I used to answer robocalls (something I no longer do; nor do I decline them, since that would tell the spammer that the number they have reached is real) I would listen to the “person” for a few seconds. Then I would say, “You are a robot.” The voice would keep talking for a couple of seconds, then say “I am not a robot.” Of course, you can program a robot to say, “I am not a robot.” I just delete all these calls without even answering them.

It is much more difficult to create a fake online personality if a portrait is involved. But, at the moment, it is possible. Researchers have found that fake LinkedIn profiles have faces that are too perfect. The facial symmetry is utterly perfect. No real human being is utterly symmetrical (see this article).

Of course, corporations will quickly learn how to insert a one percent facial asymmetry generator into their fake personalities. In the near future, we will never be able to tell if the person in the profile is real or not.

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