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February 07, 2006

Comments

Abiola

Great concept, but the execution is problematic; not only are the samples not necessarily representative of the cities covered (London has no black faces, for instance), but the implicit genetics is a highly simplistic additive model which ends up making half the world look vaguely Middle-Eastern. My own guess is that the "typical" (by which I mean "most common") face of 30 years from now in places like London and Sydney will look virtually identical to the "typical" facial type today, even if the cities in question become still more racially diverse: for one thing, there's all that hinterland in which nary an immigrant is to be found, continuously providing new arrivals to the cosmopolitan cities.

Frank McGahon

not only are the samples not necessarily representative of the cities covered (London has no black faces, for instance)

Actually, that was my first thought, which was why I selected Lisbon. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that a significant proportion, perhaps even a majority, of "Londoners" photographed were tourists from elsewhere - they were chosen at the Tate Modern which is, as you know, a major tourist attraction.

the "typical" (by which I mean "most common") face of 30 years from now in places like London and Sydney will look virtually identical to the "typical" facial type today

I think you're right, but that's even suggested under his simplistic additive model - look at Amsterdam for example.

Bran

I believe it was Aldous Huxley who said that eventually we will all look a little tea-coloured - and be better off for it.

Kevin

Hmmm, very goood. Someone approached me on Grafton Street a few months back and asked to take my photo for some European wide project. Dublin doesn't seem to be there, so I'll guess it was a different project, and that my face is flouting around the internet on the website of somebody else.

Jim

And maybe attached to someone else.

I agree with AL on the superficiality of the method - people "breed out" in pretty unpredictable ways. It is not unusual for Korean-Caucasian kids here in the Seattle area to have ash-blond hair and grey eyes, while Japanese-Caucasian kids tend to have much more standard skin and hair tones, and facial features. Something else is that the mix across a population is never even - you get Scandinavian-looking Graham Norton turning out to be Irish!. I understand about the amount of Norse settlement and all, but you might expect a little more blending in a thousand years.

Frank McGahon

you get Scandinavian-looking Graham Norton turning out to be Irish!

I don't know if I'd say that Graham Norton looks Scandinavian, but he's from (Cork) Anglo-Irish protestant background so there could certainly be some Saxon in there.

Jim

Re: Scandinavian-looking Graham Norton

Swedes are nicknamed "squareheads" for a reason. He might not be Scandinavian as in seanghall, but the Anglo part of Anglo-Irish is from southern Denmark. If he has wide feet too, that settles it.

My point was that he was basically a throwback, and that that is not so unusual. That is why these stewpot methods are simplistic.

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