NEW YORK — Artificial intelligence is helping to reveal what some are calling social media’s twisted vision of beauty. Using AI to create life-like portraits of the “perfect” man and woman, according to social media, researchers with The Bulimia Project say they are exposing how unrealistic today’s depictions of the human body really are.
The group started by asking a simple question: what exactly are the “ideal” body types being promoted by the billions of images on social media? Additionally, just how distorted are they from reality?
From there, they used the AI image generators Dall-E 2, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney to come up with the answers. Their first prompt for these programs examined social media’s “ideal” male and female figures.
The researchers with The Bulimia Project say 40 percent of the images depicted unrealistic body types. Interestingly, the team deemed more of the male bodies (43%) to be unrealistic in comparison to the female bodies (37%).
The women were generally smaller in nearly all of the images created by Dall-E 2, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney. Meanwhile, many of the male physiques generated looked like photoshopped versions of bodybuilders.
What does ‘perfection’ look like?
When researchers changed the question to depict the “perfect” man and woman in 2023, AI displayed a bias toward women with blonde hair, brown eyes, and olive skin.
As for the men, the programs settled on guys with brown hair, brown eyes, and olive skin. Nearly half of the images (47%) also favored men sporting facial hair.
“Social media’s impact on children’s mental health has been a hot topic among psychologists lately, with some pointing to it being a source of body image and self-esteem problems. Although young users might be the most impressionable, the pervasive promotion of idealized body types on these platforms also takes its toll on adults,” the researchers with Bulimia.com write in a media release.
“Considering that social media uses algorithms based on which content gets the most lingering eyes, it’s easy to guess why AI’s renderings would come out more sexualized.”
I see (in your article) only Caucasian like people with the most physique promoting features and I’m not surprised that a search engine guided by AI would filter features most used by advertisers. Where are rest of Mankind? If these depictions are all that AI can equate then I suggest that everyone reject such obviously racist intents of the programmers.
The article is written in English. If it were written in Spanish, Japanese or Zulu, then there probably would be different pictures. I don’t think that anyone can argue with the fact that people think Europeans at attractive. Black guys almost always choose any White woman that they can get pregnant. I live in a mixed neighborhood an I have seen it a hundred times.
MLK preferred white women or very light Black women according to his best friend in school Willy Williams. Don’t try to warp reality with how you would like it to be and try to feed us the media illusions that are pushed there.
Even Thomas Jefferson wrote in one of his letters that Blacks prefer Whites the same as a monkey prefers a Black woman. I don’t know if that is a fact but I do know that he wrote it. I have read it in his writings.
The word “Racist” is a control word that you use as a weapon against Whites. The word was first invented in the dictionary in 1960. For a half million years before that everyone was a Racist and that was just common sense.
Obviously written by a racist. Moving forward; in a multi polar, post racist world AI should be programmed with all hues and ethnicities. Imagine that, a form of intelligence, supposedly all seeing, all knowing but only knows about 1% of humanity, I guess it’s by design!! Be careful what you tolerate, the 1% may lead but the 99% will catch up and overtake. You will reap what you sow!!
The vast majority of advertisements have people with darker skin in them so your argument is based on a false premise.
From what the results of the questionnaire show, one gets the impression that even Africans, Asians, and Latinos, all see that all see Europeans (or “whites”) as “perfect”. This is either pathetic (in the case of this “research”) or just plain absurd to think that they really do think that way.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. An English speaking AI is going to think like a European. A Russian programmed AI is going to make beautiful Russian people. When African Hottentots program AI then it will produce pictures like this, of Hottentot women.
Blood Type O has the strongest immune system. This is especially true of O negative.
They have very strong immune systems and usually live 25 years longer than the European blood type A. Many Europeans are type O but anyone can be type O. I wish I were a type O but I am not.
Of course it picked white people. The vast, vast majority of popular actors, models, and famous people in general, known the world over for their attractiveness, are WHITE. That isn’t to say that there aren’t beautiful people of every race, there are, but the vast majority of the famous ones are white.
If you were to collate all the people considered attractive by large quantities of people, there are just a ton more white people in the list, so by law of averages, that is what it will produce.
And, ironically, that isn’t even white people’s fault. Be honest and think of all the people you know. Nearly all of them, no matter what race they are, have groups they do not want to date purely on racial attractiveness. Some people really like dating outside their race, some don’t, but many people have “I won’t date X”.
X is rarely white people. White people are like the O Negative of attractiveness, they may not be YOUR type, but they are almost always “acceptably attractive”.
If I told you to pick the most attractive race to a random person I selected, and I told you if you got it right, you’d get a million dollars, which race would you default to as the most likely guess.
(See, you answered in your brain…. don’t be ashamed)
The question was “ideal” or “perfect”. Not “average”. So whats the problem? These are not unrealistic. There are people who work hard who look like this. People are mad that perfection is hard to achieve? That’s the issue here? Laughable.
You got it, Jack! They are idealized; but that was the request. And face it folks, we all like to look at the ideal beauty. And yeah, I was never willing to work 24/7 just to get the “perfect” body when there were much more interesting things to be about. And unless you have an inheritance—and no fear of knives—there isn’t much you can do but accept what you are given for a face.
Not even close. AI reads too meant romance novels. Neither Fabio or Barbie are universally beautiful. Beauty is in the average, not the extreme.
Shocking!!! People prefer fit, beautiful people. Wow! What genius it was to discover this! Give that author both a Pulitzer and Nobel prize!
AI is just programming that reflects its programmer’s preferences. It is like the old Star Trek TOS episode where the computer is imprinted with creators engrams.