By late 2017, I’d reported on so many cosmetic surgery stories that I started wondering if I should get something done myself. But how to decide? Looking in the mirror, I couldn’t pinpoint what procedure would make me look better. So I turned to the now defunct startup Analyze My Face for advice. The startup asked me to take hi-res images of my face using my DSLR, and then uses that picture to consult with dental and cosmetic surgeons to create a mockup of the “best” face for me; apparently I could use fillers due to poor chin projection and Madame Butterfly surgery on my lower eyelids to fill out the hollows. I was impressed at the time, but two years is a long time in tech; today algorithms, not humans, would make this assessment.
Today many cosmetic surgeons would pair those photos with artificial intelligence to create a 3D rendering of my face that realistically portrays movement and expression. Their tools would then analyze my features and and tell me the percentage increases in attractiveness I could achieve for each recommended surgery.
Cosmetic surgery is big business in the United States, and across the world. In the United States, doctors performed roughly 17.7 million procedures last year, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates they spent approximately $16.5 billion on self-beautification (this does not include procedures related to reconstruction, which are mostly referred to as plastic surgery rather than cosmetic surgery). Many surgeons are interested in any tool with potential to boost their already lucrative businesses, and increasingly, those tools somehow involve A.I., intelligent systems that are able to learn, act, and reason for themselves.
When I surveyed around 20 plastic surgery conferences that took place this year, most included a session about A.I. and a discussion of software programs that do everything from measure facial attractiveness to recommend procedures for doctors to pitch to prospective clients.
But some experts say that handing over assessments of beauty to an algorithm may not be a good idea. “A.I. use in aesthetic evaluations might destroy the cultural…