According to MyHeritage.com, everyone has a little celebrity inside. Largely meant for charting family trees and as a genealogy community, the Web site also boasts an addictive face recognition technology that blurs the boundary between the great unwashed and the thoroughly groomed.
To find out which celebrity you most resemble, download a photo of yourself, and you’ll quickly receive a list of stars with similar facial features. The results, which can include men and women, are often surprising.
In one trial, a white, goateed, middle-aged man came up as most resembling the young black comedian Chris Tucker and onlookers exclaimed, "You know, I can see that."
The Israel-based site uses algorithms to compare faces. From a database of 3,200 celebs, ten ranked results are provided, which can be quite disparate.
This writer’s famous twins included Ben Stiller, the economist John Maynard Keynes and Georgia O’Keeffe. Which makes sense, since many of my friends think of me as a comedic (if womanly) painter, with a strong penchant for governmental interventionist fiscal policy.
Whatever our differences, though, MyHeritage suggests we at least share some superficial similarities. The lesson, as always, is that machines know us better than ourselves.
In this way, MyHeritage resembles the music Web site Pandora.com, which functions as a personal DJ. Pandora can lead a listener to music they might not know, but are predisposed to like.
On Pandora, you plug in a band or artist – for example, Beck. After listening to his "Fourteen Rivers," Pandora next cues up Jackson C. Frank’s "(Tumble) in the Wind," and continues with songs by the Microphones, Iron & Wine and Travis.
And if Beck sounds like Travis, then I might as well look like Georgia O’Keeffe.