Xiaomi’s Mi 6 will try to guess your gender and age

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Xiamoi’s new flagship Mi 6 phone launched in April with top-of-the-line specs, like the Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB of RAM, a 5.15-inch display, and a 12-megapixel dual camera system. It also includes an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with an automatic beautifying filter and AI that’ll try to guess your gender and age. Why does it do this? I have no idea.

I tested the feature out this week, only to determine that it doesn’t work well. Shocker. I’m 26, but the camera thought I was 24, 27, 40, and 29 at one point. It also wavered between marking me as a female or male. (Again, why?) Apparently glasses aged me and made me look more manly. You can see the results in the photos below. I tried to give myself wrinkles, but that didn’t have much of an effect on the AI’s age and gender decision. It didn’t correctly guess my colleagues’ ages, either.



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Phones that are created primarily for markets outside of the US often include superfluous camera features, like overt beauty filters and other selfie gimmicks, but including an age- and gender-guessing AI is a bizarre move.

Granted, other companies have built similar functionality. Amazon released a tool earlier this year that attempted to guess people’s ages, too, although it provides an age range as opposed to an exact number. Microsoft also launched an age-guessing website that failed miserably and subsequently went viral. At least in Amazon’s case, the goal was to give developers a tool for general object recognition and labeling for their products and services. I don’t see a legitimate reason for Xiaomi making its age guesses available to its users. I guess if it consistently told people they look younger than they are, however, then maybe that’d be a feature worth having.

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