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'How Old Do I Look?' age recognition tool claims to tell you exactly what age you appear to be

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There's one topic that has dominated conversation in the Stylist.co.uk office this morning (punctuated by squeals of delight and the occasional disgruntled humph).

It's not big or clever, but Microsoft's new "How Old Do I Look?" tool is definitely addictive. 

The facial detection device claims to use "state-of-the-art, cloud-based algorithms" to judge your age from any photo you upload.

So after years of feeling quietly smug after being ID'd - or devastated when someone mistakes your mum for your sister - this is the mechanism that will tell you the TRUTH about your age.

... Or does it?

A frenetic half-hour testing the tool in the office this morning revealed interesting results from the Stylist.co.uk team.

Senior writer Elinor set the bar high early on (accompanied by an air-punch "Yeeess!") when a quick desk-side selfie ranked her at just 14 years old. That's less than half her age:


Elinor Block, Senior Writer

Real age: 30

Nell

I, on the the hand, held the dubious honour of breaking the record the other way when "54" popped up in response to a scrunched-up facial snap that reveals every last wrinkle brought on by a penchant for wine and sunbathing (have aged 22 years in 20 seconds, I clung to the disclaimer, "sorry if we didn't quite get the age and gender right"). 

Thinking the tool might rank you older if you don't smile or it's just a bad photo, I then uploaded one of myself half-frowning and looking sort of sad and traumatised; but it outfoxed me again by guessing my age as 20:


Anna Brech, Deputy Editor

Real age: 32

Anna B

Meanwhile, our ever-youthful writer Sejal was a bit put out to be told she looked "36" from a photo that's flattering by anyone's standards:


Sejal Kapadia, Writer

Real age: 26

Sejal

So while some critics have already slammed the app for destroying self-esteem, we think the folks over at Microsoft would have to finesse their criteria quite a bit before we take it seriously enough to put a dent in our confidence.

Granted, the tool didn't mistake any of us as men, but we did end up with a wildly disparate - and entertaining - variety of ages.

Try the tool out for yourself here

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