Beauty is not the stuff of poetry anymore; it can be quantified and generated automatically via computer. At least, that's the claim of a group of researchers in Israel who have built a new software tool that can convert any face into the face of a supermodel. Computer scientist Daniel Cohen-Or, lead researcher on the project, said:

Beauty, contrary to what most people think, is not simply in the eye of the beholder. Beauty can be quantified by mathematical measurements and ratios. It can be defined as average distances between features, which a majority of people agree are the most beautiful. I don't claim to know much about beauty. For us, every picture in this research project is just a collection of numbers.

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But Cohen-Or's mathematically-precise beauty is based entirely on subjective standards. He his research team surveyed 68 Israeli and German men and women, aged 25 to 40, asking them to rank the beauty of 93 different men’s and women’s faces on a scale of 1 to 7. According to Science Daily:

These scores were then entered into a database and correlated to 250 different measurements and facial features, such as ratios of the nose, chin and distance from ears to eyes. From this, the scientists created an algorithm that applies desirable elements of attractiveness to a fresh image.

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So the algorithm simply reproduces the biases of a fairly small sample size of people, asked to rank beauty in a fairly artificial way. But apparently, at least according to the researchers it "works" in that most people think the photographs that go through the beauty machine are hotter than when they went in. Except one time. Apparently Woody Allen's picture was not improved by the process. Beauty Machine [via Science Daily]