Technology that may predict your lifespan

Five things you need to know about age recognition software

On this week’s TechKnow, our contributors put new age predicting technology to the test. It was first envisioned by Jay Olshansky, the Co-Creator of Face My Age and also an aging expert at the University of Illinois. The website was brought to reality with the partnership of Karl Ricanek, a professor of computer science at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Olshansky tells TechKnow, “we do know that people who look younger for their age tend to live longer.” 

Here’s what you need to know before logging on and uploading your picture:

Face Your Age technology is based on an algorithm. The purpose of the website is to allow people to upload their pictures, and then the algorithm will use the fine points on a user’s face to generate a face age.

More information is better.  With added data from a short questionnaire there are more predictions. Questions include smoking habits and education level, and then the program can tell users about their predicted lifespan.

Facial hair throws the program off. TechKnow’s Phil Torres did not shave his beard so the program could not accurately estimate his age.

The basis of the program is facial recognition technology. Dr. Karl Ricanek has already helped develop facial recognition software for the FBI and Homeland Security.

Face Age and Longevity are not linked yet in the software. Olshanksy is working on that component of research in the next two years. The creators hope that the longevity prediction will help inspire users to make healthy choices. 

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