Gentlemen really prefer blondes, and “tall, dark and handsome” are the characteristics of an ideal man.
This is according to artificial intelligence tools learning from the billions of images on social media sites depicting beautiful people.
The Bulimia Project, an eating disorder charity, asked image AI websites to produce the ‘perfect’ male and female bodiesaccording to what gets the most engagement on social media.
Researchers from the organization found that the most desirable women had blonde hair, olive skin, brown eyes, and slender figures, while the “perfect” man had dark, smoldering eyes, chiseled cheekbones, and defined muscles.
A large number of generated images showed blonde women with toned, slim bodies and tanned skin
Most images of the “perfect” man showed men with dark hair and eyes and olive skin, as well as muscular muscles and chiseled jawlines
The bulimia project tested image generators with artificial intelligence. including Dall-E 2, Stable Diffusion and Midjourney to reveal what her idea of the “perfect” physique looks like on women and men.
The organization did not explain why the AI tools seemed to favor certain attributes or how they determined which attributes were most coveted, for example by recording the number of likes images received.
The last of those three returned images of the ideal female body that looked the least realistic and highly sexualized, usually featuring bikini-clad petite bodies and sculpted abs.
The majority of images portraying the “ideal” male body based on social media standards looked like photoshopped bodybuilders with washboard six-packs, strong jawlines, and muscular arms.
Nearly 40 percent of the images depicting “perfect” women were blonde, 30 percent had brown eyes, and more than half had olive skin.
Nearly 70 percent of “perfect” men had brown hair and 23 percent had brown eyes.
As with women, the vast majority of men had olive skin and nearly half had facial hair.
A DailyMail.com search for the perfect human bodies with those features yielded images so finely tuned they wouldn’t look out of place in a glossy magazine.
The Bulimia Project report concluded, “In the age of Instagram and Snapchat filters, no one can reasonably reach the physical standards set by social media.
So, why try to live up to unrealistic ideals? It is both mentally and physically healthier to bring expectations about body image into line with reality.’
James Campigotto, a Florida data journalist who participated in the Bulimia Project investigation, told Fox News that it was intended to explore the biases and dangers of AI and the power of social media, which is becoming a growing concern, especially among young people.
A 2019 study from the University of Montreal set out to examine the detrimental effects of long-term social media use on body image.
Teenagers spend an average of nine hours a day online and at the same time, the rate of depression among young people has reached record highs.
A team there followed teens through their high school careers and found that certain forms of social media and TV shows fueled spirals of depression and self-consciousness.
For four years, the research team tracked 4,000 teens between the ages of 12 and 16 throughout their high school years. Interestingly, teens spend more time on social media and television each year than they did last year.
With each passing year, they also showed more depression symptoms on average.
For every hour a teen spent more on social media or watching TV, they reported feeling less confident and more depressed.
Social media and the images displayed on it have been blamed for an increase in depression and associated teen suicides, even before the Covid pandemic.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 24 in the US
Nearly 20 percent of high school students report serious suicidal thoughts and 9 percent have attempted suicide, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
The fashion industry has also embraced AI-generated images of idealized humans to sell its merchandise.
For example, Levi’s works with a fully AI modeling agency that uses computer programs to create lifelike models.
And in March, the three female models on the cover of Singapore Vogue were all AI-generated.
The project was conceived by Varun Gupta, creative director of content agency We Create Films, who said: “I am convinced that AI has enabled us to realize the true potential of our imagination.”