WHAT SEEMED to be an absolutely pointless waste of time has turned into an offensive problem after a beauty contest judged by artificial intelligence resolved itself like it was held in Berlin in 1936.
The Beauty.ai contest was backed by Microsoft, Nvidia and MIT, for some reason, all of which presumably supported its intentions. These were simple, if retrospectively stupid. They would fall under 'science' if we catalogued them for the future. We are not.
"What matters in beauty is perception. Perception is how you and other people see you, and this perception is almost always biased. Still, healthy people look more attractive despite their age and nationality," was the progressive promise.
"This has enabled the Youth Laboratories team of biogerontologists and data scientists to develop a set of algorithms that can accurately evaluate the criteria linked to perception of human beauty and health where it is most important - the human face."
The team believes that in the near future machines will be able to get a lot of vital medical information about people's health by just processing their photos.
"But evaluating beauty and health is not enough. The team's challenge is to find effective ways to slow down ageing and help people look healthy and beautiful," the blurb added.
We suggest freezing yourself, or not smiling, not going outside and not exposing yourself to stress. Good luck with that, particularly if you are one of the people who decided to be judged by a panel of robots and assessed in terms of your wrinkles and skin type.
There were some rules to this affair and you could not be judged if you had a beard or wore glasses, presumably to ensure that Bill Gates or Steve Wozniak couldn't put themselves forward.
Remarkably, tens of thousands of people did put themselves forward. Sadly, it was, for the most part, white people who were crowned the most beautiful by a five-machine panel of stupid robots.
The robots were called RYNKL (to judge 'wrinkleness'), PIMPL (pimples and pigmentation), MADIS (similarity to models in their racial group), Symmetry Master (symmetry of the face) and AntiAgeist (perceived and actual age).
All very inglorious. Vice magazine spotted the rather dystopian and depressing outcome of the pageant and had some defensive comment from the organisations about the shameful outcome.
"We had this problem with our database for wrinkle estimation, for example," said Konstantin Kiselev, chief technology officer of Youth Laboratories, in an interview with Vice's Motherboard.
"Our database had a lot more white people than, say, Indian people. Because of that, it's possible that our algorithm was biased."
It is also possible, according to someone else, that the pageant wasn't publicised sufficiently to guarantee a completely representative competition field. µ
The app now meets the DoD's compliance standards, apparently
For folks who like their tweets in real-time
43 Days. Thousands of responses. Huge potential for improvements
It also risks a fine of, er, £8,100