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The Beautification Engine

The Ever Changing Face

According to The New York Times, there's a new computer software being billed as a "beautification engine" that conforms an existing headshot to a mathematical standard of beauty culled from the opinions of 68 Israeli and German men and women. Of course, the idea of applying technical principles of symmetry and a "golden ratio" to what humans find attractive in other humans is not a new one. Using data on what distances between features are considered most attractive, the program alters the geometry of the face — what it doesn't do is change hair or eye color, remove wrinkles or omit blemishes. (However, there is a service that does: PicWash will digitally clear your skin or slim you down with a starting rate of $7 an image).

The article brings to mind Jonathan Van Meter's New York Magazine article back in August about The New Face, a more youthful and unnatural standard of beauty the author observed spreading across the aging faces of socialites and celebrities. Van Meter was talking about actual injections and cosmetic surgery, not a digital alternative like today's article — but the core issue remains the same. As Dr. Lois W. Banner comments in the Times, “Irregular beauty is the real beauty.” What do you think?


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