Support the IEET




The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.



Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

The small and surprisingly dangerous detail the police track about you

Alan Watts by South Park creators (All in one in HD)

Prototype

The Singularity - feat. Ray Kurzweil & Alex Jones

Self Absorption

Wage Slavery and Sweatshops as Free Enterprise?


ieet books

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Author
Martine Rothblatt


comments

ericscoles on 'The small and surprisingly dangerous detail the police track about you' (Dec 20, 2014)

instamatic on 'Wage Slavery and Sweatshops as Free Enterprise?' (Dec 19, 2014)

instamatic on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 18, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 18, 2014)

instamatic on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 18, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 17, 2014)

instamatic on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 17, 2014)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Review of Michio Kaku’s, Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century
Dec 15, 2014
(9478) Hits
(0) Comments

What Will Life Be Like Inside A Computer?
Dec 7, 2014
(8328) Hits
(0) Comments

Bitcoin and Science: DNA is the Original Decentralized System
Nov 24, 2014
(7851) Hits
(0) Comments

Brain, Mind, and the Structure of Reality
Nov 21, 2014
(5436) Hits
(0) Comments



IEET > Rights > PostGender > Vision > Bioculture > Technoprogressivism > Contributors > Kyle Munkittrick

Print Email permalink (4) Comments (6533) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


Processing Beauty


Kyle Munkittrick
By Kyle Munkittrick
Pop Transhumanism

Posted: Mar 28, 2010

Oh, computer scientists, is there nothing they won’t try to quantify?


image

Amit Kaigen of Tel Aviv University and his team have developed a computer algorithm to recognize beauty:

In the first step of the study, 30 men and women were presented with 100 different faces of Caucasian women, roughly of the same age, and were asked to judge the beauty of each face. The subjects rated the images on a scale of 1 through 7 and did not explain why they chose certain scores. Kagian and his colleagues then went to the computer and processed and mapped the geometric shape of facial features mathematically.

Additional features such as face symmetry, smoothness of the skin and hair color were fed into the analysis as well. Based on human preferences, the machine “learned” the relation between facial features and attractiveness scores and was then put to the test on a fresh set of faces.

The article is well written, fair, and Kaigen is keenly aware of how early on this study is, as well as his own personal beauty failings. What struck me was that the same data wasn’t drawn on male faces, and furthermore that the numbers were so low, only 100 images and 30 participants. I appreciate the goal of Kaigen and his team, but would really like to see the same study done online, anonymously. Just put up 100,000 pictures of people from around the world and have each person sign in with vital statistics. I understand that the data wouldn’t be up to research standards, but it would give the algorithm much more data to work with and present a much broader understanding of beauty.

But let’s come back to the original data set for a second: thirty Caucasian women. In short, Kaigen’s team preselected what were already “beautiful” people – white women – and then had people select from there. Having computers able to process a huge volume of data seems utterly wasted on pre-selecting the data-set with such an extreme bias towards race and then further restricting it to a single sex.

Here are some ideas I’d love to see Kaigen and his team try in their research:

  • Add other races.
  • Add men.
  • Take a data-set and alter the skin tone of the pictures, so that light-skinned people are dark-skinned, and visa versa.
  • Mix and match facial features. Create deliberately androgynous faces and see what happens.
  • Add false “aggregate scores” to see how much influence the opinion of others affects perception of beauty.
  • Using blending software, create faces that are “beautiful” or “medium” or “ugly” but not unique, to see if minor flaws contribute to beauty, as well as if synthesizing levels out or undermines perceived non-beauty.
  • Increase sample size dramatically, gather data from those who live in non-Western and/or non-Caucasian regions.
  • Conduct the experiment with data/subject race correlation that isn’t Caucasian, then use the “beautiful” faces with non-correlating data/subject groups.

Any other ideas?

I don’t mean to argue that this sort of research isn’t useful, but as aesthetics is an incredibly constructed and fickle form of judgment, there is a lot more work to be done here. Also, perhaps with a reasonably large and comprehensive data set, we can start to see where biological attraction and social attraction overlap and separate.


Kyle Munkittrick, IEET Program Director: Envisioning the Future, is a recent graduate of New York University, where he received his Master's in bioethics and critical theory.
Print Email permalink (4) Comments (6534) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


Kyle,
I would suggest to do the study two-ways : not only digitalize the faces of the people that are evaluating beauty, but also the faces of the evaluators.  Who knows that people like other people looking a bit like themselves ?
And yes : a lot of races, the two genders, any age, ...
When it comes to the two genders, you should also indicate the gender of the evaluator and whether he/she is straight or gay.





The large database you’re looking for exists. It’s called hotoronot.com. In fact, some psychologists have received permission to use the data in their research. I presume that the researchers in question couldn’t.

Yes, it is culturally (and racially?) biased, but so is our perception of beauty (to an extent).

It should be noted that it is irrelevant what data the researches train their program on, or how they proceed with the training. All that matters is that the program’s ratings have a high degree of conformity to data collected from a large database such as hotornot.com.





Bravo, Kyle! Thanks for pointing out the institutional racism that has caused problems for so long for too many.





It would be interesting to see if people who can put a person in one of these beauty classes

low
below average
average
above average
high

can also put the person in an IQ class just by their looks and get it right or almost right most of the time.





YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Life Extension – a conservative enterprise?

Previous entry: Smart Girl

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376