18 going on 53, based on How Old Do I Look

-- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM HOW-OLD.NET
-- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM HOW-OLD.NET

Users of Microsoft website, How Old Do I Look, are either having a laugh or are upset with the inaccurate results

Civil servant Wong Yujie, 33, was teased non-stop by his friends after trying out software giant Microsoft's latest website, How Old Do I Look (How-Old.net).

That is because his wife, recruitment consultant Kerina Kuan, 29, was shown to be 10 years younger, according to the site's analysis of their photo. He was shown to be his current age.

Mr Wong says: "My friends joked that my wife was in fact my younger sister, and that I was 'an old cow eating tender grass'." He is referring to the literal translation of a Chinese proverb describing the romantic pairing of two people whose ages vary greatly.

He adds: "My wife was very tickled and we shared a good laugh."

Not everyone has found the results of this facial-recognition, age-guessing website funny though, especially if it analyses you as wildly older or misreads your gender.

The website was launched more than a week ago at Microsoft's Build 2015 developer conference in San Francisco and has since gone viral worldwide.

Users upload a photo of themselves - or anyone else - to the site and the machine learning algorithm embedded within the site will detect and guess the age of those in the photo within seconds.

The results are varied: Some are spot on, others are way off. The especially heinous and embarrassing mistakes have been making their rounds on social media and spreading hilarity among friends like Mr Wong's.

According to an online write-up by two members of the Microsoft team on May 2, they had hoped for "perhaps 50 users" to test the site, but ended up with more than 35,000 users within hours.

Mr Joseph Sirosh, Microsoft's corporate vice-president in the company's cloud and enterprise group, tweeted that in four days - by May 4 - the website had seen 33 million users and 240 million pictures analysed.

Judging from the various articles and social media feeds, no one has been spared - not even the dead.

CNN International ran photos of US President Barack Obama and Madonna through the website. Mr Obama was shown to be 58 (he is 53) and the singer was shown to be 31 (she is 56).

BuzzFeed News site's compilation demonstrated how the website could detect the age for Michelangelo's masterpiece, the statue of David (supposedly 27), and that of Egyptian pharaoh King Tut (supposedly 87, although his corpse is thousands of years old).

Over the last few days, the website has been trending on social media here too.

Women who tried the website and whose ages were significantly reduced by the tool were flattered by the results.

Some were shown to be more than two decades younger than they actually were.

Model-actress Ase Wang, 33, was shown to be 18 in the picture she uploaded.

"It was nice to pretend I was 18 for that one second until reality kicked in," says the resident judge of reality show Supermodelme.

Those who had their current age reflected by the website were pleasantly surprised, while others questioned its purpose and detection techniques.

Engineer Grace Loh, 41, says: "I wonder what the website can be used for and if it can see through botox and plastic surgery."

Some pooh-poohed the website and its results altogether.

Ms Lesha Mansukhani, 18, who is waiting to enter university, says: "I'm so angry. This feature made me a 53-year-old male."

Junior college student Keif Tan, 18, uploaded a picture of his clean-cut, smiling self and it said he was a 16-year-old female. He tried again with two other pictures, with the same results, gender-wise.

"The website is inaccurate and not trustworthy. I'd advise people to use it with caution," he says.

Generally, those with beards or who wear sunglasses in the photos are "aged" by the website.

Theatre actor Darius Tan, 36, would know. The first image he uploaded of himself wearing sunglasses showed him to be 44.

"My reaction was, 'How can?'" he says.

He then tried the website again with another image, without his shades on, and this time, it showed his age as 26.

"To be 26 again? I can only dream," he says.

Additional reporting by Ong Kai Xuan

brynasim@sph.com.sg

ongkx@sph.com.sg


ST 20150510 BSAGE5 1301331m

Ms Jehan Machacon

Project director in a marketing agency

Real age: 38

“This is hilarious. It made me 25 years younger, although I’m not sure if it’s flattering to be mistaken as 13 when I’m actually pushing 40.”


ST 20150510 BSAGE7 1301333m

Mr Mohd Hanafi Shufaat

Fitness instructor

Real age: 46

“I was very happy that it said that I looked 42. I think it’s because I exercise and have a healthy diet, which makes people look younger and healthier.”


ST 20150510 BSAGE4 1301330m

Ms Lesha Mansukhani

Waiting to enter university

Real age: 18

“I’m so angry. This feature made me a 53-year-old male.”


ST 20150510 BSAGERUSSELL 1301009m

Russell Ong

National swimmer

Real age: 26

“Even though it’s just a two-year difference from my actual age, I’m happy to know I look younger than a quarter of a century.”


ST 20150510 BSAGE2 1299775m

Mr Keif Tan

Junior college student

Real age: 18

“The first time I tried the feature, it said I was a 16-year-old female. I tried it again twice with different pictures, but the results maintained that I was a woman. I found that funny.”


ST 20150510 BSAGE3 1301329m

Mr Gabriel Yong

Project controller in a construction firm

Real age: 45

“This feature is lousy. It doesn’t accurately judge a living person’s age. I don’t really mind the age it showed, though, because it’s just for fun, nothing life-changing.”


ST 20150510 BSAGE8 1301453m

Ms Kerina Kuan

Recruitment consultant

Real age: 29

Mr Wong Yujie

Civil servant

Real age: 33

Says Mr Wong: “This feature can be accurate as it predicted my age, but my wife is shown to be 10 years younger. My wife is very flattered and pleased with her result, of course.”


ST 20150510 BSAGE6 1301332m

Mr Benjamin Broughton

Personal trainer

Ms Yu Huimin

Student

Real age: Both 21 and dating

Ms Yu says: “I was shocked at the results and upset that they think I’m so old. I tried a few more photos and I was always at least five years older than Ben.” Mr Broughton says: “Everyone says that I look a lot older than her and older than my age, so these results were funny.”


ST 20150510 BSAGE2 1301324m

Mrs Monica Yeo

Housewife

Real age: 51

Her daughter Lorraine

Student

Real age: 17

Says Mrs Yeo: “Thanks for more than halving my age. But most people’s results show them to be younger than they really are.”


ST 20150510 BSAGESHANE 1301008m

Shane Pow

One of the Top 10 Most Popular Male Artists at the recent Star Awards

Real age: 24

“I think looks are deceptive. I feel much older than this and I’ve always felt that I’m an older soul living in a younger body. I guess this proved that my thinking was right.”


ST 20150510 BSAGEBELA 1301016m

Bela Padilla

Actress who played the lead villain in Season 4 of local immigration drama Point Of Entry

Real age: 25

“I think it’s flattering that I look like I’m 16, but honestly, I’m very happy being 25. It took me 25 years to know what I do know and I wouldn’t trade a few years of ‘looking good’ for the wisdom I have now.”


ST 20150510 BSAGEJUDEE 1300999m

Judee Tan

Local actress and host

Real age: 33

“This feature makes me instantly younger – what’s there not to like about it? But I must say that physical age is really only a number and is ultimately superficial. It’s far more important to cultivate our inner selves. What’s the use of looking young and beautiful but being rotten inside?”


ST 20150510 BSAGEFNHM 1299779m

Fann Wong and Christopher Lee

Local celebrity couple

Real age: Both 44

Says Wong: “So fun! I wonder how this feature derived our ages.”


ST 20150510 BSAGE9 1301334m

Lee Teng (centre)

Local television host

Real age: 31

MediaCorp actors Jeffrey Xu (left), real age: 26, and Ian Fang (right), real age: 25

Lee says: “Jeffrey, Ian and I shared a good laugh about it. Jeffrey says the website is inaccurate. But I think the website is very accurate, given the fact that I am really only 21.”


ST 20150510 BSAGEBOBBY 1301346m

Bobby Tonelli

Former Class 95FM deejay

Real age: 40

“I love this! Especially as it thinks I’m seven years younger than I am.”


ST 20150510 BSAGE10SZRJ 1299758m

Michelle Chong

Actress-director

Real age: 38

Chong says: “The results are very encouraging and it gives me confidence that I can act as a 20something.”


SundayLife! runs its own test of some famous faces

ST 20150510 BSAGEBIEBER 1301447m

Justin Bieber

The singer is 21.


ST 20150510 BSAGECLOONEY 1301347m

The Clooneys

Human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin is 37, while her husband, actor George Clooney, is 54.


ST 20150510 BSAGE 1299776m

The Royals

Prince William and his wife, Kate, are both 33 this year.


ST 20150510 BSAGE20 1301454m

Lady Gaga

The singer is 29.