Artificial intelligence (AI) tools have produced images of the ‘perfect‘ male and female bodies based on billions of images found on social media sites, spotlighting a large number of outdated standards of beauty.
The Bulimia Project, an eating disorder awareness group, asked AI to produce the ‘perfect‘ male and female bodies, according to what gets the most engagement on social media.
Researchers from the organization found that the most desirable women had blonde hair, olive skin, brown eyes, and slim figures, while the ‘perfect‘ male had dark, smoldering eyes, chiseled cheekbones and defined muscles.
These results appear to play up outdated standards of beauty – caucasian yet tanned, slim yet muscular, and overwhelmingly blonde. This hints at the AI tool‘s implicit biases and reveals that, despite modern advances, there are still certain standards of beauty in the public‘s collective consciousness.
“It‘s concerning that these images of ‘perfection‘ are based on outdated standards of beauty,” said Julie Smith, founder of The Bulimia Project. “We should be embracing diversity and celebrating people of all shapes and sizes.”
The findings also raise questions about the potential impact of AI–based image recognition tools on the way people view themselves. AI–based tools are increasingly being used by social media sites to monitor and moderate content.
“AI–based image recognition tools have the potential to create a narrow, unrealistic and potentially harmful view of beauty,” said Smith. “We need to be aware of the potential dangers of these tools and take steps to ensure that they aren‘t reinforcing outdated notions of beauty.”
The findings of the study serve as a reminder that beauty standards are constantly changing and that it‘s important to recognize and celebrate diversity.
“We need to be mindful of the impact of these tools and take steps to ensure that they aren‘t reinforcing outdated notions of beauty,” said Smith. “We should be embracing diversity and celebrating people of all shapes and sizes.”