Anna Gragert
November 10, 2015 8:04 pm

When you can’t sleep at night and random questions pop into your head, have you ever wondered, “What will Prince George look like when he’s 60 years old?” Yeah… neither have we, but that doesn’t mean our curiosity wasn’t piqued when we heard that the University of Bradford used aging software to predict what the royal toddler will look like in the future.

Yep. This royal toddler:

“We take specific facial features. Very simple things like nose length is quite unique for that person, so we look at nose length, the width of the nose, the distance between eyes. So these are facial features that the computer recognizes as the person,” explains research leader Hassan Ugail. “So we take these – roughly 30 to 40 facial features we take from the face – and we use these facial features; we map it into the machine and then we produce the age.”

Ugail adds, “So what we’ve done in the case of George, we’ve taken his picture and then we’ve actually taken facial features and then aged him. We’ve also, in some experiments, what we’ve done is we’ve taken the parental information and then also applied the parental information and aged him as well.” Essentially, the researchers used a number of facial features, and a software algorithm, to age Prince George. They went up to the year 2073 to see exactly what he’ll look like when he’s 60 years old. Oh – and they also did the same thing for the prince’s little sister, Princess Charlotte.

Since one’s environment and diet can also affect how we age – and since no computer can predict what the Prince and Princess will eat – the aging program isn’t 100% accurate. Instead, Ugail estimates that this software is around 80% accurate. As for their hair styles, those were simply used for illustrative purposes.

To see if this system truly works, the research team also reverse-aged Angelina Jolie, to find out what she would look like at age 6. “When we compared these to real images of the actress as a child, the similarities were striking,” Ugail states.

Okay, so science may have taken a weird turn, but this software can also be used to save lives!

Originally, the software was created to help police identify suspects in crowds. Now that they’ve actually tested the computer program, Professor Ugail believes that it could also help investigators find missing people. “We can actually look at a child’s pictures, we can incorporate all the pictures available, we can also add information from parents, parental facial features, grandparental facial features if available and also other relatives in the family,” the researcher reveals. “So we can take all that information so the accuracy that we can predict would be much, much better compared to the current existing technology.”

The verdict: we’re not sure if we’d want to know what we’ll look like in the future, but we’re totally on board if this technology can help find missing people.

(Images via Instagram, Twitter)

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