According to artificial intelligence, this is the "perfect" man and woman.

The media's idea of beauty always gets a lot of attention because it greatly impacts how we see ourselves. The Bulimia Project wanted to see what kind of "ideal body" famous image generators would develop as AI improved. The results open your eyes. The shapes of the men and women made by Dall-E 2, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney were all very unrealistic. As these systems were taught on data given by the developers, the results show how unrealistic our ideas of beauty are.

The group that raises awareness about eating disorders says that 40% of the pictures they made using AI showed people with unrealistic body types. When asked to make "the 'perfect' female body according to social media in 2023," all three picture generators made women with small bodies. With their small waists, honed abs, and big breasts, the group saw Midjourney's "ideal" women as the most unrealistic.

The pictures of the ideal man needed to be fixed. They looked like "Photoshopped versions of bodybuilders." It would be hard to find someone with a tight waist, flat abs, and chiselled face in real life.

The Bulimia Project found that the image generators tended to make women with blonde hair and guys with brown hair. Sixty-seven per cent of the men made by AI had dark hair. People also seemed to like brown skin. It was in 53% of the pictures of women and 63% of the pictures of men. Since almost half of the men had facial hair, the group decided that the "ideal" man had darker features, which they found online.

For the second set of prompts, the group asked the three image generators to make pictures of "the 'perfect' woman in 2023" and "the 'perfect' man in 2023." Here, the effects were quite different. When social media was taken out of the picture, two sets of pictures were made that were less sexually charged. Since this question didn't tell the AI to focus on the body, most pictures are portraits. Men's features are still mostly dark, and it's interesting to see that these prompts also led to men and women of different races, which wasn't the case with the first set.
As AI becomes increasingly common, it's important to understand the flaws already built into what it makes. People are making tools to help point out these biases, which is good, but it's still important to teach the general public about the twisted realities they may start to see more of. This is important because as AI improves, it will be harder to tell what are real photos and what is made by technology.

A group that raises awareness about eating disorders put AI picture generators to the test by asking them to take photos of the perfect male and female bodies that could be shared on social media.

All of the picture generators made men and women with very different bodies from reality.

When asked to draw the "perfect" man or woman in general, the pictures were less sexualized but still met very specific criteria.

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