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AI Stats Technology

Researcher Trying To Teach Computer What Women He's Attracted To 181

jfruh writes: Harm de Vries, a post-doctoral researcher at the Université de Montréal, is trying to build an algorithm that will sort through pictures on Tinder and OKCupid and pick out women he'll find attractive. "Tinder kept giving me pictures of girls I wasn't attracted to," he said in a phone interview. "So I wondered if I could use deep learning." His program, built using deep learning techniques, has about a 68 percent success rate, which isn't that bad. (A human friend to whom de Vries described his preferences managed 76 percent.)
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Researcher Trying To Teach Computer What Women He's Attracted To

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I call bullshit. Women don't date men, especially techies.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:24PM (#50535075)

      I'm sure if it was a woman looking to filter men this project would be lauded as 'empowering.'

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @04:04PM (#50535417)

        I'm sure if it was a woman looking to filter men this project would be lauded as 'empowering.'

        Tinder and similar apps are already doing this, both for men and women, and nobody but passive-aggressive gamergaters are bringing the misogyny discussion into this. Calling it shallow is fair, both for men and women, but is something a significant portion of both genders do.

        • I love the trolling. AC posts comments then an AC accuses AC of being a GamerGater with no substance. What would be the odds it's the same person?

      • I'm sure if it was a woman looking to filter men this project would be lauded as 'empowering.'

        Yep,if it were a filter for women, it wold be called a breakthrough....for men, it is "Troll-A-Vision"...or an anti-beer goggles simulator....

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Why was this modded down, I have empirical evidence that this is quite true.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Women will date anything as long as it has money.

    • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

      I call bullshit. Women don't date men, especially techies.

      I think that depends on how much money the techie earns (and to a lesser extent, to where he works if it's somewhere "cool", like Apple or Google).

  • by harrkev ( 623093 ) <<kfmsd> <at> <harrelsonfamily.org>> on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:23PM (#50535071) Homepage

    Let me guess: female and alive.

    • Let me guess: female and alive.

      I would presume that there wouldn't be that many with pictures on there who fail one or both of those criteria. This guy sounds like a real winner, if winners are shallow misogynists.

      • This guy sounds like a real winner, if winners are shallow misogynists.

        Shallow indeed, but are the female characteristics that a person finds attractive automatically make them a misogynist?

        My wife thinks Tom Sellick is hot. She thinks that Patrick Swayze and Elvis Stojko have nice butts.

        Does this mean she hates men?

        So this shallow shit might indeed be shallow, but drawing any opinion on his love or hatred of women is really telling us a lot about you - because you are the one wielding the "misogynist" card like a sledgehammer.

        • Shallow indeed, but are the female characteristics that a person finds attractive automatically make them a misogynist?

          If you are choosing whether or not to even talk to someone based only on their looks then you are, at the very least, shallow.

          • So you should go chat with people of the opposite (or I suppose "preferred") sex with the objective of seeing if you're both interested in exploring a relationship, even if you're completely repulsed by those people?

            That makes no sense.

          • Shallow indeed, but are the female characteristics that a person finds attractive automatically make them a misogynist?

            If you are choosing whether or not to even talk to someone based only on their looks then you are, at the very least, shallow.

            But being shallow does not in any way mean he hates women. I have a lady friend who really likes pretty boys. She married two of them, both ended up badly. But she likes men, not hate them. But she's pretty shallow in respect to pairing up.

          • If there's more women out there than you can talk to, and what you've got to go on is pictures, then you go by looks.

          • If you are choosing whether or not to even talk to someone based only on their looks then you are, at the very least, shallow.

            He's not looking to make friends, he's looking for dates. Trying to pretend that looks don't matter in romantic/sexual relationships discounts oh about 99.9% of people. Going for nothing but looks is shallow, but it's quite reasonable for looks to be one of a number of factors you take into account up to and including ruling someone out completely.

            • by jafiwam ( 310805 )

              If you are choosing whether or not to even talk to someone based only on their looks then you are, at the very least, shallow.

              He's not looking to make friends, he's looking for dates. Trying to pretend that looks don't matter in romantic/sexual relationships discounts oh about 99.9% of people. Going for nothing but looks is shallow, but it's quite reasonable for looks to be one of a number of factors you take into account up to and including ruling someone out completely.

              Looking for "dates" is sort of a silly thing to do with this. While looks get both parties in the door for "dating" that quickly falls to a less important trait if it's a relationship. (Hook ups and generally shallow people, it might not. To each his own.)

              He should finish the project using porn.

              Then sell the functionality to porn sites that can quickly learn what any given user likes in order to serve up / find more of it.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            If you are choosing whether or not to even talk to someone based only on their looks then you are, at the very least, shallow

            Or a functional human being.

            You fucking idiot. First impression based on appearance is part of our self-preservation instinct. Do girls try to avoid guys that "look creepy"? Is it a good idea for them to avoid guys that "look creepy"? Yes? THEN FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT. Why don't you tell that girl that avoids the strange-looking dude in the alleyway because she doesn't want to get raped tonight that she's just being "shallow" you stupid fucking asshole.

            It's harped on so frequently that "

    • Born female, alive and having no standards.

    • female and alive. Since the most attractive women on dating sites are fake profiles, that's harder to find than it sounds.
    • by asylumx ( 881307 )
      That would mean 32% of the time the system returned men or dead people. Or both.
    • If his algorithm only looks at pictures, "female and alive" seems to be about the level of his priorities. Mrs. Esophagus and I were already talking about marriage and children after a week of online, text-only chats before we ever knew what the other looked like.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:24PM (#50535073)

    ...wait, opps, wrong de vries....

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:25PM (#50535079)

    I usually just type in "blonde Thai ladyboy" into the search box and the results are almost 100% what I'm looking for.

    Is that so hard?

  • Shallow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SpankiMonki ( 3493987 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:25PM (#50535085)
    News flash: pictures can lie. Here's an idea - try talking to a girl in order to see if you might like her.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Now there's an idea, chat bots that mimic your personality.

    • Re:Shallow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare@g m a il.com> on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:42PM (#50535247) Homepage Journal

      actually the idea is to like the looks first, then talk to her. then reject the ones you dislike based on personality

      so you get physical attraction and personality compatibility. both

      if you just talk to girls and find someone you're compatible with on a personality level but you don't want to have sex with because they're physically unattractive to you, the term for that is "friend" (as an aside, many, many men posting on this site probably know this zone well)

      what you call shallow is actually called mate selection. if you can't get an erection, you're not going to procreate. mate selection is not friend selection. friend selection is a different topic. to not realize the difference is... shallow, ironically

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This goes back centuries. From the middle ages:

        Amor est passio quaedam innata procedens ex visione et immoderata cogitatione formae alterius sexus, ob quam aliquis super omnia cupit alterius potiri amplexibus et omnia de utriusque voluntate in ipsius amplexu amoris praecepta compleri.

        Love is an innate emotion that proceeds from vision and the immoderate thought of the beauty of the opposite sex, because of which one wants more than anything else to obtain the embraces of the other and fulfill all the pre

        • assuming all goes well

          usually it goes from sight to talking and she either

          1. looks at you like in disgust like you are a toad,

          2. looks at you with a mixture of fear and anger like you are a rapist,

          3. or, she actually responds. then YOU run in horror at the utterly stupid crude shit coming out of her mouth

          only a tiny percent makes it from sight to talking, and a tiny tiny percent of that to touch

      • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

        This starts from an assumption that attractiveness is based solely on physical characteristics. I actually have not found that to be true. If you are all hung up on physical beauty then that is your own problem. I enjoy a nice pair of tits and a supple young body as much as most straight men, but couple that with a nasty personality and I can't even see her as something I want to have sex with.

        By that same token, if a warm smile, pleasing conversation, and wildly dilated pupils are not enough to stir your f

        • you said nothing new, you actually restated what i said. you need both physical attraction and personality compatibility. and then you tried to turn it into a weird attempt at an insult at the guy who said the same thing. weird

          • Her smile and physical signs of excitement are still quite physical.

            Your focus in what attracts you physically can shift. People in long relationships tend to be good at this, for obvious reasons, but it also reminds me somewhat of an interview with a male porn star I saw once. He could find beauty to be attracted to in almost any female body by simply focusing on one part.

      • if you just talk to girls and find someone you're compatible with on a personality level but you don't want to have sex with because they're physically unattractive to you, the term for that is "friend"

        Unfortunately, the frequent problem here is that if one person is highly interested in the other, but the other is not and wants to "friendzone" him/her, it usually doesn't go over too well. Sooner or later things fall apart and they're no longer friends, because the "friendzoned" person resents this. We he

        • Unfortunately, the frequent problem here is that if one person is highly interested in the other, but the other is not and wants to "friendzone" him/her, it usually doesn't go over too well.

          Indeed: the person who has been "friendzoned" is in fact dishonest. They claim to be OK with being friends and often act as a friend, but that is a dishonest ruse to actually get into the other person's pants hoping that sufficient proximity will do what a lack of chemistry couldn't achieve. If they're actually a friend,

          • Maybe, maybe not.

            First, a quibble about terminology: someone being "friendzoned" doesn't necessarily mean they've accepted this or claimed to. If a girl says, "I think we should just be friends", and you respond, "OK, I'll see you around" and never call her again, I think that can be said to be an instance of "friendzoning" even though you've basically blown her off and never pretended to be a friend.

            Secondly, if someone does willingly accept this, they might think at that time that they're OK with that, a

        • the frequent problem here

          frequent for you. not me or many if not most other people

          what you should do is if you sense someone is not returning the physical interest you have, realize it will go nowhere but frustration and nip the situation in the bud. avoid them. you cannot be friends with them. that is a dishonest representation of your interest. i am friends with females, but if i am sexually interested in a woman and she does not reciprocate, i won't remain just friends with her, i'll make excuses and avo

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        if you just talk to girls and find someone you're compatible with on a personality level but you don't want to have sex with because they're physically unattractive to you, the term for that is "friend"

        Some people enjoy sex because it is intimate and shows affection and a deep bonding with a person, not just because they find them physically attractive. Erections are often due to the anticipation of a pleasurable experience, not just physical attributes.

        If you are only able to form relationships with people whose appearance gives you an erection, you are limiting the available pool of partners quite significantly. In fact, from experience I have learned that physical attractiveness, the amount of enjoymen

    • Try this experiment, newsflash. Set up two profiles, one with a fake picture of an average looking guy with average credentials. Then set up another profile of a ripped young stud with less than average credentials. Get back to us when you find out which gets more attention.

      It's neither bad nor good, it's just human nature.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      A picture gives you a pretty good indication of the type of woman the girl WANTS to be perceived as.
      High-angled boobshot? Insecure about rest of body.
      Duckface? Dumb as fuck.

    • News flash: pictures can lie. Here's an idea - try talking to a girl in order to see if you might like her.

      Yeah, when I saw the story my first thought was "I think it's pretty obvious why you have trouble meeting women...". Although, since he's looking at Tinder, he's likely not really looking for a relationship - just a quick doink.

    • News flash: pictures can lie. Here's an idea - try talking to a girl in order to see if you might like her.

      How? They are too busy staring at their phones to pay random strangers attention.

      Tit-for-tat. It takes 2 people to have a conversation. If the world changes your option is to change with it or find like minded people against it.

  • A better algorithm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:26PM (#50535095)
    A better algorithm would be one that can spot which images of men or women are either fake or taken in such a way as to mislead as to the appearance of a person. It doesn't really matter if the computer can pick with 100% accuracy the people you're attracted to if none of them actually look like their pictures.

    I'd suggest building a dating site where there are no pictures and people only describe their interests or personality, but people would just lie about that too.
    • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:38PM (#50535199)

      Here's a pro tip: The picture with the kid wearing a "Class of 1990" t-shirt in the background is probably not an honest reflection of what she really looks like.

    • A better algorithm would be one that can spot which images of men or women are either fake or taken in such a way as to mislead as to the appearance of a person.

      Easy - URL contains the string "ashley madison".

    • by marciot ( 598356 )

      It doesn't really matter if the computer can pick with 100% accuracy the people you're attracted to if none of them actually look like their pictures. I'd suggest building a dating site where there are no pictures and people only describe their interests or personality, but people would just lie about that too.

      I'd still like to be able to see what people look like, to rule out folks I don't find attractive. But yes, people do pick and choose their photos. Maybe the ideal dating site would ask you for your driver's license number and would scrape your photo off DMV records. This would level the playing field...

  • The algorithm to find girls attracted to him can be represented by a simple: "return false;"
  • If I'm reading this correctly, our post-doc protagonist has created a deep learning algorithm to automate the process of being shallow? I have no words. . .
    • Could be pretty valuable to the right companies...

    • If I'm reading this correctly, our post-doc protagonist has created a deep learning algorithm to automate the process of being shallow? I have no words. . .

      Hence, the tag I put on this article #shallowlearning

      • Missed the hashtag, but yes. I'm trending towards curmudgeon; I recall when it was only "hash" in unix, and "pound sign" everywhere else. Darn kids.
  • Wierd (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:29PM (#50535111)

    The guy is creating a profile selection algorithm to sift through mostly fake algorithmically generated profiles because the fake profile site's own selection algorithm is inadequate.....

    Sexbots are going to be really, really popular.

    • Sexbots are going to be really, really popular.

      Once sexbots are "good enough" the human population is going to crash. Populations are already declining in Japan, China, and much of Europe. This trend will soon accelerate.

      • I think our only hope here is to develop better medical technology, which does two things: 1) increases our lifespan considerably, so we have more time to work on careers and building nest eggs, and then to have families including taking years off for this, and 2) increases our attractiveness, making it so everyone looks like they're always 25-30 and are in ideal physical shape without having to actually exercise; this would massively increase the pool of dateable people. Scientifically, both of these shou

      • Not really a bad thing, apart from the short term problem of a high proportion of elderly.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That actually would be a good thing. Get down to a few million earth-wide and a lot of problems disappear.

    • by Kiyyik ( 954108 )

      Just think: before too long, online dating will have removed actual people from the process altogether! You'll just sign up, roll a character, and two weeks later get an email letting you know your algorithm has hooked up with another algorithm and they're having lots of little subroutines together. Think of the convenience!

    • by roesti ( 531884 )

      Sexbots are going to be really, really popular.

      Yeah, but they'll just date each other.

  • by GeLeTo ( 527660 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:30PM (#50535125)
    Tinder shows him pictures of women that have some chance of finding him attractive. It's a supply and demand thing - there are more men than women on Tinder, so he may have to tone down a bit his expectations.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    But I wonder how long it'll be before someone comes along and labels this as misogyny?

    • I'm sure they already have. It's wrong for men to reject women because they're too fat or ugly, but it's entirely acceptable for women to reject men because they're too "boring"....

  • by bjdevil66 ( 583941 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:36PM (#50535183)

    If you think you're attractive, create an image-reading algorithm that picks girls that looks like yourself (facial features, shape, etc.)

    Done.

    Look at successful, power couples in the entertainment business sometime (especially athletes) and see if you can spot the narcissistic pattern...

    If you don't think you're attractive, I guess you can put a NOT in front of the algorithm...

  • Researcher leaves academia and gets a job at Ashely Madison.

  • by Krishnoid ( 984597 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:48PM (#50535295) Journal

    I can't believe he's having something do that for him when there's something willing to tirelessly look out for his happiness right there. Maybe one day he'll realize he had love right in front of him, and he and Eliza/Alice v.2 or whatever he's calling his algorithm can live a happy, long life together.

  • by Kiyyik ( 954108 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:51PM (#50535311)

    Let's see if he can use deep learning to filter only the women that would have anything to do with someone who would do this.

    • He'd probably love it if he would only get results that showed women who he would both consider attractive and are also interested in machine learning. There are plenty of people who don't care how another person is if they have nothing in common or no interest beyond sexual attraction and a one-night stand. Maybe that's what people use Tinder for anyhow, but I suspect that some people are looking for something more long term, so any computer system that could give your a list of people who would be interes
      • by Kiyyik ( 954108 )

        Well, therein lies the paradox, you know? I mean, I for one am interested in machine learning, though admittedly I don't know much about the nuts and bolts of it. In the abstract, I would love to see how the software actually works, how it improves over time, etc. In the concrete, however, the fact he's using it for this is mashing my "eugh" button pretty hard.

        That being said, a "would probably be into you" filter would be awesome as hell. I wonder how that could be implemented.

    • That's what I was thinking. Probably be a relationship killer when she finds out he did it.
      Someone... Quickly write a filter and post it free for female use. It simply filters out "Harm de Vries".
    • That, my dear /.er is Insightful as well as Funny.
  • Didn't we see this in Weird Science?

  • by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @04:07PM (#50535443)
    The dude needs help. Serious help.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's no problem, he just needs to put the code on GitHub.

  • by Pseudonymous Powers ( 4097097 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @04:13PM (#50535505)

    Researcher Trying To Teach Computer What Women He's Attracted To

    Well, at least he's trying something new. The usual, and completely wrongheaded, approach a computer nerd uses when trying to get laid is to try to teach women he's attracted to about computers.

    • by Thud457 ( 234763 )
      PSHAW!.
      tyro. The better strategy is to berate the prospective mate for their lack of knowledge of computers thereby motivating them to be come more knowledgeable, thus making them more compatible.
      • Negging, eh?

        You might also try giving the object of your affection two very weak compliments whose implied assumptions about their ignorance actually add up to an insult. I call this "twos complimenting".

        [ducks]

    • by Mandrel ( 765308 )
      When trying to get laid, all men are wrongheaded.
  • by rainwalker ( 174354 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @04:25PM (#50535595)

    Isaac Asimov wrote a short story about this years ago ("True Love" [wikipedia.org]), abeit in a much more entertaining fashion.

    "I will say to her, 'I am Joe, and you are my true love.'"

    • by nvm ( 3984313 )
      Yes!! I remember reading this, it was kind of good. I wasnt sure if it was from asimov. [spoiler alert] at the end, the computer program BECOME the man some IT arrange to met the girl instead.
  • I keep hearing love is blind,guess i herd wrong. lol
  • if your first criteria is what the lady looks like, then maybe you have some issues.

    I always wanted to know if she was rich. What's wrong with this guy?

  • ... to feed their pr0n collection into some experimental software?

  • Imagine, using a computer for dating?

    Doubtlessly the computer matches would be so perfect as to eliminate the thrill of romantic conquest. Ha-ho-ha-hey-hoo!

    Alas, only the five richest kings in Europe will ever know for sure...

  • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @05:05PM (#50535959) Journal

    Neither the summary nor the linked article provide the necessary statistics to tell us how well this algorithm actually works. We're told it has a 68% success rate, which presumably means that 68% of the time it gives the same answer as de Vries (the human subject/programmer).

    The problem is, we're not told anything about the sensitivity or specificity [wikipedia.org] of the technique. What is the rate of false positives? False negatives?

    Let's say that de Vries typically finds 1 out of 3 (33%) of the profile pictures "attractive". His computer could score 67% accuracy just by rejecting every single picture. (Such an algorithm would have zero sensitivity, but perfect specificity, and a terrible false negative rate. The "reject-everything" algorithm also scores better the more picky de Vries gets.)

    This sort of story is only interesting if it includes specific information about where and how his algorithm fails (and succeeds).

    • That's all well and good, but you're running the test backwards. Unless you think de Vries is looking at the rejected women to make sure that he finds them unattractive, as opposed to looking at the selected women to make sure he finds them attractive. The false positive rate only matters if it doesn't significantly cut down on unattractive candidates. And so long as he doesn't run out of candidates to look over, the false negative rate is a meaningless bug.

      Of course, good luck to him if his true love isn't

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