Apr 22

Can computers judge beauty?

Yes, it’s increasingly possible that they can. A group of graduate students and professors at Tel Aviv University have ‘taught’ a computer to judge facial beauty. The results were published in a recent edition of the journal Vision Research. In the experiment, 30 men and women were asked to rate the beauty and attractiveness of 100 similarly-aged Caucasian women on a scale of 1 to 7. The ratings were then fed into a computer and the subjects facial geometry was mathematically mapped.

The result??? In a fresh set of faces, the computer was in agreement with the human judges. So, while many of us think that Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder, it is also apparently in the hard drive of your local PC. This study is more proof positive that there is a mathematical science to Beauty. Researchers from the same university have gone one step further and created a software program that can automatically beautify a face.

Now, a sense of aesthetics, on the other hand, is not something that we think you can easily teach. True, a computer may be able to morph a person’s image to make it appear more attractive based on a mathematical algorithm. But to take that same person and translate those desirable aesthetic changes to make them a reality is a much more difficult undertaking. When a computer can be taught to do that, it’ll be time for us to look for another career….in computers.

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