Tuesday, January 10, 2006

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A very important post about.... how I wasted an hour today

So I stumbled across MyHeritage.com today -- which claims to have a face recognition program that lets you upload a photo and tells you which celebrities you look like.

Of course, I couldn't resist. After uploading the picture on the front of the web site, here's the list of celebs I was told I resemble:

Matt LeBlanc
Dustin Hoffman
Antonio Banderas
Usama bin Laden
George Clooney
Pierce Brosnan
Jason Biggs
Roberto Rossellini
Hugh Grant
Tom Stoppard
If you've managed to contain yourself to this point, well, you have better self restraint than I.

Needless to say, their technology appears to be heavily dependent upon the angle of the face in the photo, hair length, facial hair, the presence of eyeglasses, etc. In other words, it's pretty much rubbish. When I uploaded a Salma Hayek photo, the program declared her to be only a 74% match with... Salma Hayek.

So this was a waste of time..... until I realized that I could upload pictures of other bloggers and see who they resembled. The resulting lists of names are pretty friggin' funny.

Glenn Reynolds:

Ward Cunningham
Yossi Beilin
Alan Alda
John Major
Franz Kafka
Pierre Curie
Linus Torvalds (this was the one photo where I really thought the program worked)
Marshall McLuhan
Sidney Lumet
Henry Kissinger
Virginia Postrel:
Diane Keaton
Eva Peron
Alicia Keys
Agam Rudberg
Renee Zellweger
Meryl Streep
Preity Zinta
Andie MacDowell
Andrew Sullivan -- no matches. I tried two different photos, and Andrew stumped the computer.

Matthew Yglesias:

Leonardo DiCaprio
River Phoenix
Danny Elfman
Orlando Bloom
Vaclav Havel
Elton John
Tyler Cowen
Boris Trajkovski
Rudolph Nureyev
Benjamin Netanyahu
Cary Grant
Alec Baldwin
Benicio Del Toro
Zoran Djindjic
Kevin Bacon
Arvo Part
Roy Orbison
Ana Marie Cox:
Annette Bening
Kirsten Dunst
Angelina Jolie
Gwyneth Paltrow
Megan McArdle:
Katie Holmes
Neve Campbell
Liv Tyler
Demi Moore
Grace Kelly
Kate Winslet
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Lauren Bacall
Oh, and as a final check, I uploaded this photo of Henry Farrell and myself:

Henry and Dan.jpg

For Henry:

George Clooney
Art Garfunkel
Michael Jackson
Heitor Villa-Lobos
George Lazenby
Chet Baker
For myself: Henry
David Thoreau
Federico Garcia Lorca
Shahrukh Kahn
Chet Baker
Michael Douglas
Keanu Reeves

posted by Dan on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM


holy shit. you do look like keanu reeves.

no seriously.

posted by: Derek on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

Not ready for primetime.

Would not accept my registration.

posted by: Dave on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

I have much imagination but on the last picture, I'd say you look more like David Duchovny and I dunno why but Henry looks like Anthony Edwards (Dr Greene from ER).
Anyway, if I remember well, they say on the site that the picture used must have a solid color (white I think) and many other rules that may give better results. With a common picture, I found out the results were almost random.

posted by: Lionel on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

Somehow I find that picture much, much funnier than any of the celeb-matching results.

posted by: Jacob T. Levy on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

Yup - angle and smile make the difference.

I sent 3 shots - different angles and smile widths. Results were Pope John Paul II, Manuel Noriega, and a guy I didn't know who looked like the logo on the Underwood Deviled Ham can.

Maybe a great party novelty - after a few.

posted by: wishIwuz2 on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

Hey, they are getting gender right. I seem to recall that this used to be too tough for AI.

posted by: david Speyer on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

You do look like Federico Garcia Lorca, at 5 in the afternoon, at 5 in the afternoon

Google it if I confuse you, if not, well done on your studies

posted by: Witch King on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

I think the eerie OBL resemblance may've played a role in the tenure decision ....

posted by: Anderson on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

Henry is a ringer for Mike Martinez.

posted by: binky on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

It told me I was Samuel L. Jackson. I think the software needs a bit of work. I thought Dan looks a bit like Paul Wolfowitz in that last photo.

posted by: Kieran on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

In that picture I think you look like the actor Rob Morrow and Henry Farrell looks like Fox news anchor Shephard Smith (remove the mustache, darken the hair and take a little weight off the cheeks).

posted by: Caroline on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

Y'know, the thing is that you kind of *do* look like a mash-up of Matt LeBlanc, Jason Biggs, (the very young) Dustin Hoffman, and Hugh Grant. (The facial expression in the picture is pure Keanu, but you don't actually look like Keanu.)

Wonkette as Annette Bening isn't crazy either.

posted by: Jacob T. Levy on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

Both adorable, but neither one looks like Shahrukh. In my mind, Shahrukh is my boyfriend...

I bet it thinks I look nothing like Sarah Ferguson since most people think I do. Heh.

posted by: ajw93 on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

remind me again how you got through grad school?

posted by: Time Waster on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

Wow. Henry is the intersection of Newt Gingrich and Vincent D'Onofrio of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

posted by: Mark N. on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

Sully looks like a young Ernest Borgnine.

posted by: Patrick Lane on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

You and Henry look like Newt Gingrich and Rick Moranis.

posted by: Patrick Lane on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

They are getting gender *mostly* right. When I put in my picture (I tried two), I get groups that are about 80% male. One of mine included a young Charlton Heston, a not-young Omar Sharif, Sam Cooke, and Winona Ryder. The other picture came up with a list that included Sting, Keith Richards, Stephen Jay Gould and Courtney Love. In other words, I'm not sold on the technology just yet :)

Although it is interesting that the #1 match for my first picture, soccer player Michael Ballack, shares my birthday (different year).

posted by: Dave on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

What kind of picture of Andrew Sullivan are you sending in? My mind races!!!!

posted by: Tommy on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

My first four matches were: kurt weil, kim basinger, rock hudson and mae west. go figure.

posted by: zaoem on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

A pretty girl is like a melody

posted by: Sissy Willis on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

Just to reassure people, I'd like to relate that I have done the necessary controls. I uploaded head shots of two very different dogs and the Web site said it had no match for either. I guess if the pool of celebrities includes Benji and Lassie we could view that as a failure.

posted by: MT on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

I posted a picture of a dog, and got a reasonable match (don't remember the %age) with Liza Minelli.

Won't SHE be pleased!

posted by: Jens Fiederer on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

Stumped on Andrew Sullivan?

How about Christopher Lowell... with a little more man flavor.

posted by: kyutpnoi on 01.10.06 at 11:53 PM [permalink]

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