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Facial Recognition Software Guesses Age Based on a Photo

Facial recognition service Face.com has announced a new feature in its API: age detection. After analyzing a photograph of a person’s face, the software returns three values: minimum age, maximum age, and estimated age, along with the confidence level of the guesses. Applications for the new technology include enhanced parental controls and targeted advertising. If you want to test out the service yourself, you can play around with the API here (in the photo above, the correct age is ~47).
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Patricia Morris's profile photoMartha E Fay's profile photodj runnels's profile photo
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It had a hard time with my face. I tried a number of different pictures, the latest from 2009 and the earliest 2005. Most of the age estimates were wildly low, except when my face was lit from the front. Then the confidence interval included my real age at the time. (my real age in the period was 55 to 60; several of the estimates were in the low 30s!)

The other interesting problems was that the API could not detect my glasses at least 50% of the time and almost always thought I was male (I wear my hair quite short; of the two pictures where it guessed female, in one I was in hijab, the other my hair was longer than usual.)
 
+Martha E Fay How fun this sounds! I could use an ego boost right about now, so maybe I'll see if it will subtract some years from my age. And if it deems me male, well....people always assume "dj runnels" is a guys' name anyway.
 
I had similar experiences with both mine and my husband's photos, +Martha E Fay. Most of the time it couldn't detect mine or my husband's glasses, detected his age at least 20 years higher than it was, usually detected mine anywhere from 15-25 years lower than it was while occasionally detecting my short hair as being masculine so it appears to have some difficulty with women's features.

In one of the photos where I was approximately 2-3 years old and holding a dolly outdoors in a naturally well lit area the software guessed my age at 10-16 years old.
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