For years, Hannah Williams’ go-to selfie app has been YouCam Makeup . Before posting a self-portrait to Instagram, the 25-year-old cashier from Morgantown, W. Va., will run the shot through YouCam’s augmented reality filters to whiten her teeth, remove stray pimples and smooth her complexion. In recent months, she’s played around with the app’s cat-eye eyeliner, used its AR hair filter to reimagine herself with red and purple hair, plus contoured the girl face for her Bumble profile.
Williams said she’s gotten a lot of value out associated with the application: It makes her looked “snatched, ” she stated. But each of Williams’ selfies offers even more value in order to Perfect Corp., YouCam’s Taiwan-based parent company. Backed by investors including Snap, Chanel, Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Alibaba Group Holding, Perfect Corp. offers consumers and brands sophisticated try-on tools, essentially AR filter systems that allow customers to virtually test beauty products from their own home. For as little as $399 a month, Perfect Corp. ’s artificial intelligence platform—trained on hundreds of millions of faces like Williams’—can analyze users’ skin quality, match the particular exact shade of their skin in order to a corresponding product and overlay cosmetic and fashion accessories. And pretty soon, the program may even label users’ personality traits.
It’s this last feature that presents a lot more dystopian possibilities. Recently, Perfect Corp. launched an AI Personality Finder, which promises to read your facial features for clues about what kind of person you are—and, by extension, what type of items you might buy. Intrigued (if a bit alarmed), I snapped a selfie and ran it through the online demo. Five seconds later it spit out a profile based purely on the arrangement of my face. According to Personality Finder’s algorithm, the distance between my nose and my mouth, combined with the rounded cheekbones, hooded eyes, and other facial attributes, identified me as an enthusiastic, action-oriented plus social individual. I scored 95% for extraversion, 21% for neuroticism and 63% for conscientiousness.
This data, when fed into Perfect Corp. ’s recommendation engine—licensed by companies as varied as Google, Meta and Aveda—then displayed a variety of generic cosmetics. (The demo system currently doesn’t sync along with specific manufacturers. ) Apparently, my character algorithmically meshes with red lipstick, brow pencil, plus Goddess and Lilac perfume. These products are placeholder suggestions with regard to future enterprise clients, but it’s easy to imagine them replaced with real goods through existing clients like L’Oréal, Macy’s, Estée Lauder or Nars. And Perfect Corp. clearly has aspirations far beyond helping to sell lip liners plus blush.