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How Robot Beauty Pageants Could Revolutionize The Future Of Health

Backed by Microsoft and Nvidia, the world’s first “robot beauty pageant” is a clever way of teaching AIs to detect illness from a selfie.

How Robot Beauty Pageants Could Revolutionize The Future Of Health
[Source Photo: Vladimir Gjorgiev via Shutterstock]

Ask Miss Columbia: humans, with all their subjective standards of good looks, are just crap at judging beauty contests. But will artificial intelligences be any better at it? That’s what Beauty.AI, a new beauty pageant exclusively judged by robots, aims to find out.

From the perspective of pageant participants, Beauty.AI is pretty simple. You download an app for either Android or iOS and take a selfie. You can’t wear make-up, glasses, or have a beard–nothing can obscure your face, in other words–but otherwise, there are few rules. You upload your picture, and wait for an AI to declare you Miss (or Mister) Robot Universe.

Where things get more interesting is on the robot side of things. That’s because what Beauty.AI really is is a clever way to find the best way for identifying medical issues with just a photograph, backed by partners such as NVIDIA and Microsoft.

As the founders of Beauty.AI note, beauty is mostly subjective–the eye of the beholder and all that jazz–but if it’s tied to anything, it’s tied to visible health. That makes “beauty” an interesting metric to study for biogerontologists and data scientists, who think machine learning could be used to scan people for illnesses, just by looking at their selfies.

We believe that in the nearest future, machines will be able to get a lot of vital medical information about people’s health by just processing their photos. Learning to estimate people’s attractiveness is the first small but crucial step to this future, because healthy people look more attractive despite their age and nationality. This step enables us to build the base for developing future algorithms for appearance estimation.

That’s why Beauty.AI is opening up its judging panel to any AI that aims to analyze human attractiveness, as well as a large pool of human applicants. If you can find a neural network that’s good at estimating beauty, the potential applications are limitless: imagine if Instagram could detect the early signs of cancer. This “beauty pageant” conceit kills two birds with one stone.

You can take part in the the Beauty.AI contest by downloading the app here.

About the author

John Brownlee is a design writer who lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. You can email him at john.brownlee+fastco@gmail.com.



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