Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Selfie Assessment Time; Trends Wondering Exactly How Hot Your Profile Picture Is? A New Dating App Will Tell You, Says Phoebe Luckhurst

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Selfie Assessment Time; Trends Wondering Exactly How Hot Your Profile Picture Is? A New Dating App Will Tell You, Says Phoebe Luckhurst

Article excerpt

Byline: says Phoebe Luckhurst

EXISTENCE is the pursuit of reassurance and validation. Historically, you sought reassurance and validation from people but now that we are ruled by mechanical overlords, you seek reassurance from the machines. The machines tell you if you have walked sufficient steps, and eaten insufficient calories; they tell you whether anyone really likes you (they don't, because your Instagram photo only got three likes).

Therefore it is unsurprising that a site that judges your selfies on a sliding scale went viral yesterday. The #howhot project was developed by the team at Swiss-based dating app Blinq, which is broadly your usual location-based, swipe-leftand-right dating app, with the caveat that you must be granted access by the Blinq community. The six categories of selfie judgment are precise: at the bottom end, "Hmm", "OK" and "Nice", progressing to "Hot", "Stunning" and finally "Godlike", the Mount Olympus of babedom. By yesterday morning more than one million unique users had uploaded images to the site.

Obviously, my existence is also the pursuit of reassurance and validation, so I promptly uploaded five selfies from the last six months, one taken that morning. In all, I was alone, and in several I am doing something "kooky" to distract from the self-consciousness of taking a selfie, e.g. flashing a peace sign or pulling a faux sad face. In one, I have cat nose and whiskers drawn on my face.

The verdicts: in four of the five pictures it determined I looked 23 years old. This is a result as I'm 25, so I repeated the ruling loudly until an exasperated colleague congratulated me. In four of five uploads, my selfie scored "Hot", though the picture of me yesterday was judged only "Nice" so I booked an eyebrow threading at lunch.

Of course, it is very scientific. Rasmus Rothe, the engineer who wrote the software, explained that it has "learned from millions of images of faces how to determine attractiveness, age and gender". …

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