#HowOldRobot: How old do you really look?

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Have you noticed that photos of your online friends have been popping up with their guessed-age? Microsoft recently unveiled their How-Old platform, a site which allows you to upload photos of yourself and let an automated system guess how old you are.

The creators of How-Old took to the Internet to discuss the reaction and were blown away. “This is a fun story of how we were expecting perhaps 50 users for a test but – in the end – got over 35,000 users and saw the whole thing unfold in real time,” Corom Thompson and Santosh Balasubramanian, Engineers in Information Management and Machine Learning at Microsoft wrote on How-Old’s blog.

How-Old was conceptualized for a demo at Microsoft’s Build2015 developer conference to showcase how developers can easily build intelligent applications using Azure services. Using Microsoft’s newly released Face detection API, the creators built How-Old, which is reasonably good at locating faces, identifying gender and age.

But is this just a ploy for Microsoft to store your images and data?

The creators had this to say on their blog: “No we don’t store photos, we don’t share them and we only use them to guess your age and gender. The photos are discarded from memory once we guess. While we use the terms of service very common in our industry, and similar to most other online services, we have chosen not to store or use the photos in any way other than to temporarily process them to guess your age.”

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