Of course, many computer scientists have tried to make face-aging software before. The umbrella field of getting computers to recognize human faces is a hot topic of research; Facebook recently published some work on getting its “DeepFace” software to recognize people from the side, given only head-on pictures. This new work is based on the largest-yet database of photos for aging software—40,000 pictures of people ages 0 through 100. The new software is also unusual in its ability to create accurate results from photos of very young children.
Software like this would be especially helpful to missing children searches, Seattle TV station KOMO News reports. Right now, expert artists try to help with searches by making drawings of missing kids at their current age. The artists use a combination of photos of the kids, the looks of the kids’ older family members, and current knowledge about how faces age. (Scientists already know, for example, that people’s faces and noses lengthen as they get older.) The craft of interpolating how a person will have aged is “part art, part science and a little intuition,” as one firm describes it.
This new software boosts the science part of that a bit.