Artificial Intelligence and Beauty

Shahnaz Husain
Since time immemorial women have been using various aids to enhance their beauty. Between the ancient times and the modern scientific age, we have seen the phenomenal growth of the beauty business. We have also seen and experienced the heights of product innovations, using research and development of cosmetic techniques. New ingredients are being researched and then promoted as the next best beauty discovery. Even ingredients from ancient texts are being combined with scientific techniques to formulate beauty products. Each product claims to be better than the previous one.
We have also been through basic customized beauty care, formulating products for different skin and hair types. Even here, there is a kind of generalization and the theory of “different skin types” does not take into account the many differences there are between one individual and another. Through these years, branding has become important. The customer starts believing that using a certain branded product will make her look like the Brand Ambassador. The fact remains that the product has not really taken into account all her personal characteristics. But, Artificial Intelligence is changing this.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to have taken us into the world of computers and robots, like scenes from a science fiction movie. Actually, AI can be simply defined as “machines that imitate human behaviour.” For instance, computer programming is based on human behaviour, using language, memory, ability to recall, rectify mistakes and so on. In other words, the programme should be such that it “must be able to do many different things in order to be called intelligent.” Sophia, a Robot, who was created in 2015, not only resembles a human being, but is made of a material much like human skin, allowing her to show expressions of emotion. She can converse and even has a sense of humour! Perhaps, she can be programmed to provide beauty advice and prescriptions too! She can do many such things…..but, the fact remains that she has to be programmed.
My experience has been in the realm of Ayurvedic Beauty and Health Care, where we have combined Ayurveda with advanced scientific techniques. We have seen the phenomenal growth of health and beauty care. We have also seen and experienced the heights of product innovations. Programming has helped to prepare a database that can take many individual characteristics into account, so that it is possible to manufacture a beauty product that is specifically meant for an individual, rather than only conforming to broader specifications, like “skin type.” Artificial Intelligence has made it possible to find a custom made product for each individual.
I had started preparing a database more than four decades ago, when I started my first herbal salon. I followed customized beauty care at the client card level. The details of each client are noted down in the Client Card. Apart from basic details, the details of allergies, past history, past treatments and current treatments are all recorded. But now, with computer programming immense databases are being created.
Beauty brands are adopting Artificial Intelligence to create personalized products that are specifically tailored for customers. The “search” for the products must be detailed and specific, so that the customer can make the connection among the different categories of products and select the best suited product. Machines will have to be programmed to take many other distinctions into account, like geographical region, climate, skin colour, ethnic backgrounds and so on. The customer can refer to the virtual card, fill in the details and search for a custom based product online.
With the help of Artificial Intelligence, the customer may be able to find a skin profile that is totally personalized and unique, so much so that it may not fit another person. If such detailed data is taken into account by product developers, it may be possible to make similar products, with or without a particular ingredient, which may be suited to one person, but not to another.
It seems the possibilities are limitless with further development of technology. But, I still feel that it is human intelligence which helps prepare the systems of Artificial Intelligence. Only a human being has the ability to say whether a particular product feels good or not. Only a human being can judge whether the product really does all that it promises to do. We cannot rely totally on machines and Artificial Intelligence.


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