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.
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.
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…