Don't fall prey to AI promising to rate your beauty

·2-min read
There are now AI programs offering to rate your beauty.

Asking artificial intelligence to evaluate your beauty? Just no! Anything but objective, these technologies can amplify racist, sexist and ageist bias. Worse still, they can make you feel bad for no reason at all.

Are we really going to let algorithms behave like casting directors? There are now artificial intelligence programs which, according to their creators, are capable of analyzing multiple parameters and rating the beauty of our faces. So, just like at school -- where you could have done better in math -- you can now get a grade rating for your face.

One such AI is Qoves . On the Australian site, users can sign up for a "facial analysis report" ultimately determining whether they're beautiful, ugly or just ok. A comprehensive report comes at a cost of US$250, revealing "how you stack up against scientifically measured standards" and where there's room for improvement, whether through surgery, Botox, special creams or other means. Once the criteria for improving your beauty have been identified by Qoves, you'll also get cosmetics recommendations based on products sold by the brand itself.

What's your Beauty Score?

Qoves is part of a wider trend for face evaluation algorithms, as identified in the MIT Technology Review. The Review mentions Face++, a service that promises to assess your power of attractiveness, cutting straight to the chase by giving users a Beauty Score of perhaps 40, 50 or 75%. How this AI manages to predict human desirability is something of a mystery.

Algorithmic nonsense

This isn't the first time that AI has claimed to be able to determine key information about humans. In fact, several more or less dubious attempts have revealed gender, sex, age and skin-color bias. For example, in 2016, an AI program was used to pick the winners of a beauty contest. The result, reports The Guardian, was that those selected were almost all white. In 2019, researchers in the US claimed that they were able to predict if a person was a criminal or not based on their facial features, like in the movie "Minority Report." A potential scientific disaster in the making ...

Anyway, it's time to forget about relying on AI to rate our beauty and to trust that inner voice telling us that actually, we ain't so bad after all.

Mylène Bertaux