Artificial Intelligence Judges Beauty Contest - Racism Ensues

A beauty contest judged entirely by Artificial Intelligence has found itself in the middle of an internet uproar, as the AI mostly chose white people as the winners.

Now I know, beauty contests aren’t necessarily the most honourable of competitions already - mostly judgmental, degrading sh*t shows that are headed by old perverts who care only about the swimsuit round.

But this was supposed to be different. Bringing in a little bit of technological innovation, the contest - organised by Beauty.ai - put judging responsibilities in the hands of five AIs. These computers looked for certain features on each person to judge the situation.

All of these features had clever acronyms - RYNKL stood for seeing if the person had saggy eyes, PIMPL looked for (you guessed it) spots. 

And MADIS was supposed to compare the facial features of the contestant with a database of faces compiled from the same racial group. Pair this with Symmetry Master and AntiAgeist, which did exactly what they say on the tin, and you’ve got a rounded opinion of each contestant.

But even with what sounded like a racially equal judging system, the results were anything but. Out of the 6,000 people who downloaded the app and submitted their pictures for judgement, the vast majority of the 44 chosen winners were light skinned.

"Many participants disagreed with the jury and proposed getting a human opinion. But with every Beauty.ai contest we are getting more ideas on how to evaluate the human face and even go beyond the face evaluating multiple features of the human body and even social profiles." Anastasia Georgivskaya, member of Youth Laboratories (the team behind beauty.ai that’s funded by Nvidia and Microsoft) commented on the situation.

From my perspective, there are much more important issues for AI to tackle than the judging of a beauty contest. Makes me nervous what kinds of algorithms were running behind closed doors…