Fun with Face Recognition

I heard about MyHeritage.com‘s cool new face recognition program on GMA this morning, and was dying to try it out all day. The basic idea is that the software will scan a headshot, pick out the key defining characteristics, and tell you what celebrities you look like. Why a geneaology website? I gather the idea is to ultimatly roll the software out to the site’s family database, so you can track down your long-lost, amnesia-prone uncle Buford by matching your face to his. Uh, well, whatever. All’s I’m interested in whether I look more like Drew Carey or Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The minute I got home from work, I uploaded pics of Ana and myself to the site to see. At first, it looked really promising. The site has these sweet graphics, including a high-tech one that’s like a scene out of Face/Off, and it seemed like the software really was scanning our features. And the first results were flattering, if mildly implausible. At the very least, Ana’s got her maiden name right.

Then I noticed that under the first result, you have the option to flip through other celebrities you look like. They explain that there’s a lower correlation (say, 49 percent, compared to Clark Gable’s 61 percent), but really, nothing softens the blow of being told you look like Whoopie Goldberg. At the very least, I can console myself about not having a 68 percent of the same facial features as Barack Obama.


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