We know, right? Who better to judge your age and gender than Microsoft’s powerful “How Old” machine?

If you haven’t been spammed with a flood of orange screenshots of your friends’ faces tagged with a number and a gender symbol, the you obviously haven’t been lurking around your social media platforms enough in the recent few days. You see, Microsoft has created a powerful machine that will judge you (or rather, your age and gender) using algorithms.

How it works is that you upload a picture and it will judge you. Let us demonstrate:


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The question is, why is Microsoft suddenly doing this?

According to The Verge, behind the scenes, Microsoft is using machine learning to better churn through the untold number of photos on the internet. That is not an easy job, and one just about every search company is trying to get just right. Also, Microsoft says it’s for “obtaining real time insights” on the data it’s gathering about people’s gender and age.

It also means you can give it countless photos of your friends, family, celebrities, and mythological creatures and see how badly they get mangled, as long as they’re less than 3MB a pop.

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Also, the site originally started out as a small and quiet test, as Microsoft said that they only sent 50 people e-mails to about it. But those 50 e-mail recipients managed to proverbially blow up its spot.

“We were shocked,” Corom and Santosh, 2 members of Microsoft’s machine learning group wrote on Microsoft’s technical blog. “Within a few hours, over 35,000 users had hit the page from all over the world (about 29k of them from Turkey, as it turned out – apparently there were a bunch of tweets from Turkey mentioning this page).”

But wait, what’s the catch?


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A Fast Company article highlighted that you should probably check the fine print before you upload your photo, because your face could end up in a future Microsoft advertisement. In fact, if you checked how-old’s terms of use, it clearly states:

However, by posting, uploading, inputting, providing, or submitting your Submission, you are granting Microsoft, its affiliated companies, and necessary sublicensees permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses (including, without limitation, all Microsoft services), including, without limitation, the license rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate, and reformat your Submission; to publish your name in connection with your Submission; and to sublicense such rights to any supplier of the Website Services.

Yup, true story. But if you’re not worried, we say go have fun with it while it lasts!

We know we did 😉

Sources: The Verge, Fast Company, Microsoft.

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