Does Artificial Intelligence Understand Human Beauty?

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have become all too common these days. One of the applications of these technologies is generating human faces thanks to the use of GANS or generative adversarial networks.

I have been using it to generate images but one day, a light bulb moment came off. What if I let the AI generate faces based on a broad range of human profile archetypes alone and let it figure out what these certain characters might look like?

There are two famous quotations that I need to put in a test:

[1] Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.

[2] Don’t judge the book by its cover.

So what I’m trying to find out:

[1] Can the AI picture what a beautiful human being looks like?

[2] Do bad human attributes reflect in human appearance based on the AI’s interpretation?

The Archetypes

With these things already laid out, I will set up human profile archetypes that will be tested. First things first, I will categorize the archetypes into — ordinary, accomplished, and underworld. The search string to be used in the AI platform will be: [name], [occupation] in [location].

a. Ordinary is self-explanatory as these there are the everyday working people you see every day making an honest living.

Federico Reyes, bus driver in Bacolod

Hilario Nunez, pig farmer in Tagbilaran

Imelda Cruz, flower vendor in Manila

Marites Lopez, storeowner in Cebu

Faisal Muhammad, farmer in Koronadal

James Sandoval, office worker in Baguio

Samirah Alonto, shopkeeper in Davao

Jessa Sebastian, sales clerk in Mindoro

Edgar Francisco, basketball coach in Iloilo

Katrina Martinez, kindergarten teacher in Masbate

b. Accomplished is the type of people who are rich and successful. They are the people that the ordinary ones want to be like.

Freddie Ramirez, bank manager in Cagayan de Oro

Jonathan Quinones, town mayor in Catbalogan

Nadine Tolentino, actress in Manila

Lea Ortega, beauty queen in Batangas

Victor Zamora, police general in Dagupan

Hilario Roberto, Supreme Court judge in Vigan

Jessica Yu, TV news anchor in Pasig

Michelle Montalban, social media influencer in Makati

Lyndon Matador, fitness guru in Quezon City

Kendra dela Cruz, millionaire heiress in Bacolod

c. Underworld is the type of people that does all the bad things. They could be criminals, drug lords, crooked cops, and corrupt politicians.

Roberto Mendez, rebel leader in Cagayan

Alex Valdez, notorious bank robber in Cabanatuan

Rowena Gutierrez, ponzi scheme queen in Butuan

Helen Francisco, illegal recruiter in Guimaras

Roy Montano, convicted murderer in Muntinlupa

Barbara Enriquez, serial killer in Sorsogon

Gregorio Tan, Chinese Triad leader in Manila

Nobuo Ichida, Yakuza leader in Makati

Francine Mercado, adult film performer in Laguna

Maria Balboa, ex-convict in Zamboanga

What platforms are we going to use? I have the option of choosing either neural.love, Midjourney, or DreamStudio to generate fictitious faces based on the archetypes above. But decided to use DreamStudio as it is much faster to generate images than neural.love. Even though Midjourney is the fastest of the three, it has certain limits so I can’t generate more.

Do take note that the profiles here are all made up and any similarities are just coincidences. Faces are all generated via AI.

The Faces

When generating faces, the AI often generates questionable results from blurry images to weird faces with artifacts. The best-looking faces will be gathered and compared. Find the right answers at the end of this article.

The Ordinary

Can you guess the archetype of the people in this photo? What particular clue stands out in every photo? What is the common theme?

It seems that the AI attributes wrinkled and sunburnt skin to everyday, honest, hardworking people. Although some are smiling, the facial expression they exhibited shows a sense of what they do for a living. The AI also generates a background that gives you an idea of their identity.

The Accomplished

Do you think that the person’s success will reflect in how they look in the photo? Can you spot who is the millionaire in the photo?

Their poses remain somewhat similar to the people in the first category even though they are significantly richer and have better social and economic status than the people in the Ordinary.

The Underworld

Does a person’s criminal history show up in the generated image?

It doesn’t to be that way, although there are some images that resemble a mugshot photo taken before someone is put behind bars. They have smug looks on their faces. If you come to analyze it very closely, they can be categorized into either the Ordinary or the Accomplished archetypes.

My Take

All generated images seem to have similar poses in general while there are visible smiles in the first two categories with two out of ten smiles in Ordinary and three out of ten smiles in Accomplished. The last category Underworld all have a mugshot look.

Some characters may belong to other categories as it seems like they are not what they are based on their archetype. I’m not sure if the AI can fully grasp the varying context beyond what the archetype meant. One example is the Supreme Court judge but he looks like a mob boss. Another one looks like an innocent-looking grandma but was generated under the Underworld archetype.

So you want to know if your answers are right?

What do you think?

In my opinion, AI can now generate better realistic faces yet there are visible artifacts that make it look like it’s a fake face. Although it can add greater detail based on the context it perceives, it will take a few years before they fool human intelligence completely.

If you want to give it a try, generate your own images here.

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Historian, blogger, genealogist, copywriter & video game geek. Check out my bio at bio.link/jpcanonigo.

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J.P. Canonigo

Historian, blogger, genealogist, copywriter & video game geek. Check out my bio at bio.link/jpcanonigo.