'How Old' robot guesses ages of your favorite superheroes
They may have super powers, but some aren't drinking from the fountain of youth.
Who said computer programmers don't like to have fun? A development team at Microsoft wanted to test the company's new facial recognition code, so it set up a site called How-Old.net. The intention was to just have friends upload photos of themselves, and the site would try to guess their age and gender via facial recognition. But it took off, with more 35,000 people using it in a few hours. Now it's become an honest-to-goodness meme, spreading around social media faster than you can say the word "tweet."
The site lets you search the web via Bing to find pictures in case you don't want to upload any. So we thought it would be fun to search for some photos of everyone's favorite superheroes, on both the Marvel and DC sides of the ledger, to see how old the system thinks they are. In most cases, we'll use the superhero in costume, but we might need to use their alter ego in case the person is ensconced in Iron Man-like armor. The software is good, but it's not that good.
Of course, the thunderous Thor, who will be seen in "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" starting today, is ageless. But the actor playing him, Chris Hemsworth, is 32. So the estimate of 29 isn't bad. Apparently, the technology has problems with beards, so that may have caused the discrepancy.
Hey, now we're getting somewhere! Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who plays Wonder Woman, just celebrated her 30th birthday, so the site pretty much nailed it. Though, we must admit that another version of this picture, with the background eliminated, said she was 24.
Here, we had to use Tony Stark out of costume because it's just too much to ask this site to judge how old Iron Man is in armor. Another one with wildly fluctuating ages, depending on the photo, but we had to post this one, because the 50-year-old Robert Downey, Jr. would be happy to know that someone thinks he's 29, even if it's just a robot.
Another one where we have to use the hero out of costume. Barry Allen has always been a youngish-looking character, especially as the 25-year-old Grant Gustin plays him in the CW's hit "The Flash." So both Barry and Grant might be dismayed at the results the site returned; and this wasn't the only pic that thought Barry/Grant was well into his 30s.
A lot of photos of The Hulk aren't recognized, mainly because of his green skin. But this one is. Not only did the site recognize that it was a man's face, but that the green beast is 47, which is exactly the age of Mark Ruffalo, the actor who plays him in "The Avengers."
The site redeems itself with Elizabeth Olsen's character in the new "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" movie. Olsen is 26; the site says Scarlet Witch is 25. So maybe it just needs to learn a little more. Hey, humans aren't great at estimating age either, right?
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