How old am I? How old are any of us? It's a number you inherently know, and now Microsoft has created a terribly powerful machine that will judge your age using security algorithms.
The creators of an age-guessing app that’s moving through Facebook feeds like wildfire are sharing their secrets.
How-old.net claims to guess a user’s age based on a photo of themselves they upload. In a blog posted on how-old.net, creators Corom Thompson and Santosh Balasubramanian said the app was made in just a day using new face detection rules for building software. You give it a picture, and it gives you almost instantaneous judgement, complete with gender assignment. Behind the scenes, Microsoft is using machine learning to better churn through the untold number of photos on the internet. That is not an easy job, and one just about every search company is trying to get just right.
So what's the point of this? Microsoft says it's for "obtaining real time insights" on the data it's gathering about people's gender and age. It also means you can give it countless photos of your friends, family, celebrities, and mythological creatures and see how badly they get mangled. Forget Minesweeper or Solitaire — this is the best game Microsoft has bestowed upon humanity.
The site was supposed to be a small and quiet test, though Microsoft says the 50 people it sent emails to about it managed to proverbially blow up its spot. "We were shocked," Corom and Santosh, two members of Microsoft's machine learning group wrote on Microsoft's technical blog. "Within a few hours, over 35,000 users had hit the page from all over the world (about 29k of them from Turkey, as it turned out – apparently there were a bunch of tweets from Turkey mentioning this page)."
Since the page went up, the results have been pretty amazing:
You can throw any number of photos at it (as long as they're less than 3MB a pop), though at the time of publishing this, Microsoft's site was sputtering a bit, so good luck. For users, it is best to avoid personal photographs, like those with a loved one or a wedding, since many will not be too keen to hand over these to Microsoft. Given the vague terms, it would be best to stick with the random selfies to let the site guess your age.