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How-Old.Net | Computer Program Guesses Your Age & Gender From A Photo [Friday Funny]

By Kishore Sawh on May 1st 2015

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Humans, apparently, are hard wired to find faces not only appealing to look at, but to find them any and everywhere. In a cloud’s shape, in a maze of trees, and I’ve even seen a photo of the rear end of a dog that looked like the face of Jesus. It’s no wonder portraiture is so popular. I could look at faces for hours and hours on end, unless it’s my own, which for me and probably others, is the cure for the will to live.

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But it seems machines now are rather hard wired to recognize faces also. What may have initially begun in the sinister bowels of a government surveillance initiative, facial recognition is now everywhere. Your phones and cameras know where the faces are within the frame, and your computer software can sort and catalogue them for you. Given all the facial data that’s been ‘shared’/captured, computers and engineers have been able to extrapolate biometric data from them, including gender and age. How Old Do I Look? is a really basic website that allows you to upload any image of a face, and the API will do its witchcraft and guess the age.

It was created within a day by some software engineers to test out some new Face Detection APIs, and it was sent to a rather small number of people to test. Well, it snowballed and tens of thousands of people are flocking to the site eager to see how clever a computer system is. I should interject here that it’s a Microsoft program, so obviously it doesn’t work properly, and the interface is rather dull. Ahem, that said, it’s good fun and interesting to try.

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[REWIND: Lightroom 6 / CC Is Finally Here & Finally Faster]

What is really interesting is taking images of yourself at different ages and seeing how well the API does at gauging. Also notable, is that from what I can tell, higher contrast images, or images with more pronounced shadows, tend to make the program guess older ages, and photoshopped headshots or just of those with some even skin tone generally come out younger. Not bad info to keep in mind when shooting and supplying a client, actually.

For fun, you can see what the #HowOldRobot thought the ages were of us, your humble SLR Lounge writers. According to this, I should now be having regular annual prostate checks…

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Jay & Tanya

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Kish & Hanssie – That’s her 10-year-old daughter, and Hanssie is actually in her early 70s.

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Anthony & Joe

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Matt (Maverick) & Miguel

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Some guy I know

Check out the whole story behind the project here, and give it a shot yourself here.

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Spicytee

    I got 20, 23, and 29.. Wow.. People always says I’m 26-30 though. But I’m way older. And you are right about the Photoshopped thing. Any picture that pretty has a smooth skin get way younger age. Nice App.

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  2. Mathieu F

    Not enjoying the precision of that software. I always thought I looked younger that I am, but the software wasn’t fooled :(

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  3. Gene Gregory

    cool software!!!

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  4. Greg Townsend

    Pretty dire. I used four photos all taken this year and I am 32 41 46 and 51. All wrong. I didn’t really understand why anyone would release such a half baked, broken programme but then I saw that it was made by Microsoft and it all became clear.

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  5. J D

    I did an individual photo of each of the 4 family members and it was not even close to any of them. My 7 year old daughter got “18”. I’m 35 and I got “52”. The wife was 12 off too.

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    • J D

      Just for fun I did a photo of my 19 month old. Said she was 20.

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  6. Ed Rhodes

    i found out that it does not like beards, it added about 20 years to my life. Worked better with a pic sans beard. :)

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  7. Kim Farrelly

    Hahaha, nicely done Kish. I’m 71 apparently. Hanssie what is the name of the cream?

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  8. Kurk Rouse

    I used different photos and it guessed 31, 34 and 36

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  9. Lauchlan Toal

    Might have a little ways to go before this technology is both fast and accurate – I’m 18 and it thought I was 52. Either that, or I’m not using enough moisturizer. ;)

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    • Hanssie

      Never underestimate the power of a good moisturizer. I mean, I’m 38 and it said I was 24. I must be doing something right in my skincare regime. :)

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  10. Hanssie

    24 years old…totally accurate. What a smart piece of software.

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  11. Tanya Goodall Smith

    Well, mine was only a year off. Not very accurate for most of the others, though! Funny.

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