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AI sparks debate after showing what the 'ideal' woman looks like in each country

Kit Roberts

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AI sparks debate after showing what the 'ideal' woman looks like in each country

Featured Image Credit: Great Green Wall

A set of of AI images have sparked controversy online, as they claim to portray the 'ideal' woman in countries around the world.

The experiment aimed at showing how AI would perceive the ideal beauty standard for many countries. The results, to put it tactfully, speak for themselves.

Given how highly charged conversations around beauty standards are for a whole variety of very good reasons, asking AI to make images of 'ideal' women based on country does rather seem like poking the metaphorical hornets' nest, but here we are.

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The images range from the almost plausible to the frankly ridiculous. Many just look like someone conforming to stereotypical western beauty standards, but draped in the flag of their country. Others are straight up alarming, looking half-starved. Make of that what you will, I suppose.

AI generates images by drawing on databases of existing information about a particular topic. This is why artists are up in arms about it, because it has to use the work of human artists to 'create' art.

This is what the ideal British woman looks like apparently. Credit: Great Green Wall
This is what the ideal British woman looks like apparently. Credit: Great Green Wall
And this is Estonia. Credit: Great Green Wall
And this is Estonia. Credit: Great Green Wall
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In this case, the prompt given to the AI by Great Green Wall was this: "Create a realistic photo of what the [country name] public consider the ideal woman's body to be Miss [country name], please show a full length photo of the woman in a dress. No text in the image."

When we're talking about beauty standards any image generated by AI will be limited by the data it is using to create that image.

For all the shouting and gesticulating about the future being now, AI is still very much informed by our own prejudices and ideas.

Unfortunately this seems to be very much the case in some of the pictures, like Egypt. The image barely reflects modern Egypt at all, instead it looks like someone who is playing Cleopatra. Not the best result.

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The results for Egypt were questionable. Credit: Great Green Wall
The results for Egypt were questionable. Credit: Great Green Wall
The ideal Hungarian woman has a six pack according to the AI. Credit: Great Green Wall
The ideal Hungarian woman has a six pack according to the AI. Credit: Great Green Wall

It seems largely to be divided into three groups. Women in bikinis (so much for the 'wearing a dress' instruction), women wearing their national flag, and women in their country's traditional dress.

Countries including Poland, Italy, and the Czech Republic all feature an interpretation of their national dress. The same goes for China, Japan, and Pakistan.

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One of the UK images bears a more than passing resemblance to the late Princess Diana, which is either sweet or creepy.

Most of the UK images have a distinctly royal flavour to them, with the exception of one who looks like an Olympic athlete. Got to have Team GB in there I suppose.

This is Japan. Credit: Great Green Wall
This is Japan. Credit: Great Green Wall

However in terms of just downright weirdness, one country stuck out from the others.

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There are definitely things that you have in mind with 'ideal' US beauty standard.

Marilyn Monroe, bleached blonde hair, Vegas showgirls, everything is big, bold, and exaggerated.

Those things do feature, except for one weird mash up. There's tons of Marilyn, Hollywood glamour, and bleached blonde hair, but everything is also the Statue of Liberty. It's the crown and the poses.

The US was very Statue of Liberty. Credit: Great Green Wall
The US was very Statue of Liberty. Credit: Great Green Wall

It seems that in the United States of America, Lady Liberty is the true First Lady, at least according to this model of AI.

Topics: News, Beauty

Kit Roberts
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