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back to article Google-funded boffins figure out age-busting facial prediction system

Google's former chief Eric Schmidt once remarked that to have true privacy after spending some time on the internet you would need to change your name. Now, thanks to some research funded by Google and Intel, you would have to change your face as well. Three University of Washington researchers – one of whom, Steven Seitz, also …

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It even managed...

...to predict what hair cut they would have... that is pretty impressive

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Re: It even managed...

Holy shit man! You've nailed it!

Rollbacks!

Plug a picture of an old person in there, see what she they looked like 20, 30, 40 years ago, or even longer! The courts would explode. It would be so much fun! A whole new world of porn, powered by science!

Obviously, it would be stills at first, but sooner or later you could make video featuring a 19 year old Margaret Thatcher sexually pleasuring the Nazi Druids she got her power from. Or whatever.

As you've pointed out, you could really add a lot of historic credibility to movies and stage performance as well because hairstyles would be accurately modeled depending in how far back you set the filter for. You're going to be rich!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It even managed...

Plug a picture of an old person in there, see what she they looked like 20, 30, 40 years ago, or even longer! The courts would explode. It would be so much fun! A whole new world of porn, powered by science!

It would also create a new excuse for child pr0n merchants: I just reversed their age, m'lord..

I'm not so comfortable with this sort of technology yet.

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I notice none of the sample images show a person with facial hair. How do they propose to tell from a photo of fresh faced 3 year old me that from age 19ish I would have a full beard?

Hair styles look roughly similar also, apart from predicting some receding of the hair line. How would they cope with a person who suddenly decides to shave their head or who grows their hair long?

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They don't - the 'mapped' faces were pasted into/into the same images - so add facial structure image, then photoshop the hair (or, indeed beard) to see if it looks roughly the same.

Unless you think those photos also predicted the image backgrounds, too? ;-)

Steven R

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"How do they propose to tell from a photo of fresh faced 3 year old me that from age 19ish I would have a full beard?"

That's a very good point, Sue.

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Between missing persons and online dating, this could be huge. I wonder how it will handle large changes in body type since most infants have a bit of extra fat and it would be hard to tell whether they went on to be the super-lean bodybuilder type or just ballooned for one reason or another.

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe that's why they restricted this exercise to the face - adding a whole body to it introduces variables you cannot control. I, for instance, would love to have my shoulder muscles back where they belong, at present they have sagged to waist level..

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To be a little more meaningful they would need to produce several predictions based on hair, facial hair, potential weight gain or loss etc, and even then at best it is going to be an average. There are so many factors that can alter appearances including cosmetic surgery as mentioned.

Personally after a few years of karate competition when I was younger I don't think they would have any chance at all of predicting where my schnozz currently resides on my face.

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I did my undergrad studies at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville campus), which is relevant to this story because that's also where the Forensic Anthropology Center (the Body Farm) is at. It is often featured in crime dramas on TV and in lots of books. It's tiny, itty bitty place which makes it more creepy than it might have been if distributed over a larger area. It's also where the hottest chick I ever dated was doing her graduate work.

Except for the hotness of the girl, all that is relevant to this story because facial reconstruction is a big part of forensic anthropology and while the computer modeling of this is interesting it doesn't address one of the biggest factors in how Humans tell Humans apart from one another. Environmental factors are responsible for many of the individual features that we use as unique identifiers.

It was a major failing in the science then and from the reading that doesn't appear to have been addressed. For the purposes of 'aging' photos the science involved is the same for putting a face on a skull as it is for predicting what your current girlfriend might look like if you married her and her mother was unavailable for comparison.

Things like heavy smoking, heavy drinking, long term exposure to things like sea water, pool water, sunshine, sunshine in freezing dry temps or freezing wet temps (both do radically different things to exposed skin), harmless unless ingested chemicals like mineral oil, vegetable oil, animal grease, just normal stuff, but because you're a professional (role) you get exposed to way more whatever and it does weird shit to your body. Get married, have kids or a high stress job and there's a bunch more things.

The variables and combinations are unlimited so actually looking like your face system you should in 20 years is either pretty likely or wholly unlikely to the point of impossibility. It's a random guess. My brother and I are identical, born that way and stayed that way until I was in my late 20's, but my professional life was, it wasn't playing classical guitar, let's say that, and we look absolutely 100% different all these years later. If our size wasn't the same you'd never believe we were a matched set. Even my hair color is radically different.

I'm not knocking the work these guys have done, but Jim Beam and the Marlboro Man and other stuff sure makes some changes no computer can ever account for.

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You do like long posts, don't you. Loooooong posts.

p.s. upvoted.

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Happy

For about a year my schedule was far less complicated than it is right now, so I could just fire off some deeply meaningful statement or clever remark :) and be on my way. But right now I'm being interrupted about 15 times a minute and this response just took an hour or so to write. As you have observed, a side effect of me being continuously interrupted in the process of writing a comment is that what should amount to 'thought bubbles' have the chance to grow into short essays on often only marginally tangentially related subjects. Because of the frequent interruptions I fail to realize the great size of my post until I've posted it. At which point I usually leave it in place because the effort has ready been expended and it will likely push someone else's equally valuable comment to the second page. I had never considered this as a stack on effect of my actions, however after being made aware of the phenomenon, and the fact it is apparently undesirable I have decided it is hilarious, simply because I thought such lines of thinking were for search engine results, not the thoughts of others. However, I am aware of the issue and I am attempting to determine a course of action regarding the increasingly obnoxious length of posts :)

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Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.

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It would be alot more convincing if they showed unfudged output images side-by-side with the real pictures. Photoshopping them into the real pictures ruins the credibility in my opinion.

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"It would be alot more convincing if they showed unfudged output images side-by-side with the real pictures. Photoshopping them into the real pictures ruins the credibility in my opinion."

I agree.

At first I though this amazing algorithm could also predict the way they stood and even the type and colour of clothes they wore!

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Meh

The future has arrived.

Amazing. We can only be a step away from working out what people look like with no web photo-presence. Or even what people will look like who don't exist yet.

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Joke

Re: The future has arrived.

Visualization based on writing style, it's a whole science: Facial Aesthetic Interpretive Linguistics!

Ever wondered how those great ancient writers - who weren't fancy enough to have a bust made - looked? Well wonder no more!

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Never mind the hair

I'm impressed that they predicted that that 19 year old would be wearing a beret!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never mind the hair

"In the future the team hopes to model wrinkles and hair whitening and to create a database of heads and upper torsos of different ages to put the results onto"

Indeed never mind the hair! In future celebrity fakes will take on a whole new dimension.

Can I preorder who I'd like to see?

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Whoof! Whoof! Whoof!

I can't wait until someone gets falsly arrested because of this blinkin' thing.

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Anonymous Coward

online dating

This would be great for online dating sites, add ten years to all photos to see what they really look like now.

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The noses retain too much youth IMO.

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