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See what the world's most famous bundle of joy might look like at various life stages -- all the way up to the age of 60

Crystal ball

Computer software predicts the future faces of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge

By Andrew Tavani on November 12, 2015

Kids grow up so fast these days — well, at least when their likeness is run through a cutting edge new age-progression software developed by scientists at the University of Bradford in England. To show off the snazzy new program, the scientists used its predictive powers to present what Princess Charlotte, the world’s most famous 6-month-old, will look like at 5 stages of her life beyond her current age.

What will the infant princess, who was born on May 2, look like two years from now? And at the ages of 7, 20, 40, and 60?

Click through the slide show above for a glimpse at how the software predicts Charlotte will age throughout the decades.

The software is essentially an algorithm designed to analyze current images of a young child and then, factoring in data about what the parents of the child look like, generate a prediction about what the child will look like at various life stages. In a statement, Bradford scientists said, “The software can create a much more detailed and accurate portrait of an individual’s likely future appearance than currently possible with existing ‘aging’ software.”

The key to its superior reliability, Hassan Ugail, the lead scientist on the project, said, is the ability for the algorithm to include traits from a subject’s parents. “The software can verify which traits the child may have inherited from the parent, and then use this information to create images for the child at different points in the future.”

The software was originally developed as an intelligence solution for identifying terror suspects photographed among large crowds of people.

Ugail said his team believes the predictions the software generates are about 80 percent accurate, but time, ultimately, will be the judge of how true to life the images end up being. He said the team put the software through two rigorous forms of testing as they developed it. First, the predicted images were put through facial recognition software to see if a computer program could identify the images the software created. They often did.

“Computers are much more accurate than humans, so we can be confident of their reliability if they pass that test,” he said.

Then the scientists tried a reverse aging process using Angelina Jolie as an example. Ugail said his team reverse-aged Jolie to the age of 6 years old.

“When we compared these to real images of the actress as a child, the similarities were striking,” Ugail said.

The Bradford scientists also used a few other subjects to show of the software’s predictive powers, including Charlotte’s older brother, Prince George, and Eric Cowell and Harper Beckham.

Aside from the real-world applications that might interest law enforcement agencies, the software may sound like a fun distraction. For parents with young kids who want to see how they might look as they grow up or anyone looking for a glimpse into the future, the Bradford scientists are working on taking the software to market in the form of a smartphone app.

To see what the software predicts Prince George will look like as he ages, watch this video from Reuters.


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