How old do you look? The question might seem ageist – after all, what does it even mean? Isn’t age just a number and if you “look like you’re 50” when you’re 70, doesn’t that just mean that your version of 70 has fewer wrinkles?
Maybe not. It turns out that how old you look in comparison to other people your age has more far reaching implications. For example, it might tell you something about how long you’ll live – assuming you don’t get hit by a bus.
Do You Look Your Age?
The idea that how much a face has aged is a clue to that person’s longevity is not new to Jay Olshansky, professor of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a researcher affiliated with the Center on Aging at the University of Chicago. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, Olshansky’s research has shown him that “people who live longer generally look younger than other people of their age.” He mentioned the fact to an insurance underwriter at a dinner party, and not surprisingly the underwriter was interested. Could facial recognition software be used to gauge a consumer’s likely life expectancy?
One thing led to another: In the near future, your sagging jowl might mean a higher life insurance premium. In the short term, you can upload your photo to a website and get a readout of your “age” in comparison to others and the age at to which you can expect to live.
Face Your Age
According to the Washington Post, Face My Age is not only a website but also a database that is designed to grow more accurate as people participate. Olshansky and his team of researchers are hoping for at least 10,000 people to upload their photos.
The site makes it easy: After providing basic info – age, gender, ethnicity – you browse for a photo stored on your computer. The site offers photo guidelines for the best results: well-lit, full face, no makeup, no smile. You then use the site’s simple tools to mark the center of your eyes, tip of your nose and bottom of your chin. Face My Age uses this info, along with answers to a handful of biographical and lifestyle questions, to tell your “face age”; researchers have found that markers such as sagging jowl are meaningful for gauging an individual’s longevity when compared to the norm for a given age.
Do you want to know how many days you have left in this world? Maybe not. Are you curious about your “face age”? Olshansky and the insurance industry are hoping that you are.
Did you upload your photo to Face My Age? Share your experience with the site below.