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Robot Jury Picks Winners in International Beauty Contest

You might think robots are sexy, but what do they think of you?

Beauty contestant

The first robot-judged beauty contest has identified ten winners out of more than 5,000 entrants, thanks to three artificial intelligence programs: the RYNKL Wrinkle Detector, the Model Alliance Digital Intelligence Scout (MADIS), and Symmetry Master.

The organizers asked human contestants to upload selfies to beauty.ai, and had data scientists audition robot evaluators to judge the humans’ beauty. The winners were announced on Jan. 28.

It doesn’t take much for humans to decide a robot is sexy, but it’s a new step for robots to be making judgments about humans. It could have repercussions across a range of fields, including health technologies and sex robots.

No makeup

The contest, supported by Microsoft, asked humans to download an app from the App Store or Google Play. Next, they needed to upload a selfie for the robots to judge before the Jan. 15 deadline.

Ten winners were chosen across five age categories for men and women. The only qualifications were no makeup, no glasses, and no beards, highlighting the robot judges’ limitations.

Nevertheless, the organizers wooed more than 5,000 entrants with the chance to “go down to history” as the first-ever winners of a beauty contest judged by robots.

The website describes human beauty as “perception.”

“Perception is how you and other people see you, and this perception is almost always biased. Still, healthy people look more attractive despite their age and nationality.”

Potential beyond a beauty contest

The link between health and beauty suggests that robots capable of judging a beauty contest could also be capable of improving medical treatments, deducing vital information about people’s health by simply analyzing a photograph.

The beauty.ai website identifies the end goal as keeping people ageless—but there could be other uses as well.

Artificial intelligence capable of understanding beauty would revolutionize dating, especially online. It could help people search for potential dates beyond quantifiable criteria such as age or hobbies, identifying people the user is likely to find physically attractive.

Most experts expect the development of sex robots to have an effect on dating and sex, yet some argue that the influence of sex robots will change people’s perception of human-to-human sex, too.

Robots that understand attraction could help develop solutions for humans engaging in sex, relationships, or flirting. Imagine a robot dating coach—or sex therapist.

More generally, robots that make “judgments” on subjective matters such as beauty will feel increasingly humanlike, even if those judgments are based on an objective algorithm.

It could be the difference between a sex robot that’s fundamentally an expensive, well-crafted sex toy purely for the user’s physical pleasure, and something that can mimic the emotional parts of a sexual relationship.

The organizers at beauty.ai haven’t indicated whether they’re planning future beauty contests with different robot judges.

Image sources: Marcos Domenech, beauty.ai

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