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technology

Beauty, reduced to mere measurement…

Context (but behind a paywall): I asked an AI to tell me how beautiful I am

I read today of what appeared to be a technological project and commercial enterprise intent on reducing beauty to an AI-mediated measurement or judgement value system and in the midst of all my horror, some words or observations came to mind:

Curious, though, in that academic studies have demonstrated (with culturally-agnostic acuity) that superficial, material attractiveness is a function of approximation to a median or statistically average configuration of physiognomic geometry. So, this technological system is the application of sophisticated mathematical reasoning to determine a function defining an average arc across all possible geometric values. What we call “beautiful” may or may not invoke visceral, emotional responses or culturally-mediated value assertions but the salient fact remains that any machine intelligence assigned to determining categorisation of median properties in such a dataset is both a waste of processing power and a relatively simple solution to what is really not at all a problem that requires professional attention or technical extrapolation. If there is money to be made here, the nature of that value is rendered as spectacularly meaningless – perhaps as much a reflection on the normative commercialisation of beauty as anything else.

Aesthetic algorithmic analytics of this kind falls into a general category of things that people do only because they can, not because they should.

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