Can You Trust AI With Your Health and Beauty?

Can You Trust AI With Your Health and Beauty? featured image
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As Google rolls out its newest AI, we’re seeing some…interesting results. Maybe you’ve seen that 1912 was actually 20 years ago, or that the secret to a good sauce is just some nontoxic glue, or that you should eat one small rock a day.

Asked by Business Insider about these terrible AI answers, a Google spokesperson said the examples are “extremely rare queries and aren’t representative of most people’s experiences,” adding that the “vast majority of AI Overviews provide high-quality information.”

And Google has, historically, felt the impact of those mistakes. Their market value dropped $100 billion last year after its new AI chatbot made a mistake in its debut. Research into SEO Spam in search results also demonstrates a decrease in the quality of Google’s answers over time.

But AI getting basic facts wrong carries a significant risk to the state of the internet.

Google AI Gives Wrong Answers

Trust in Google search is eroding.

We’ve all heard that there’s no such thing as bad press. But the Google AI answers are putting that saying to the test. We’ve lost count of the number of negative press hits we’ve seen in the past week alone.

So, what will Google do about it?

Learning Programs Learn a Lot

Just a few months ago, common advice was to look at the hands in an image to tell if it was AI. Generative systems struggled to depict our digits accurately, and the result was honestly kind of funny. That’s not the case anymore. Unsurprisingly, the learning program was asked to focus on hands and started getting better and better at depicting them.

The same will be true of the AI programs being foisted on us now.

These programs, alongside scraping the internet for copyrighted content to slightly reword, will get better. Google’s AI will become smarter, and make fewer mistakes.

But to what end?

What AI Can Do

A few months ago, Estée Lauder’s Voice-Enabled Makeup Assistant (VMA) App debuted. This first-of-its-kind application is designed to provide detailed feedback on makeup to the visually impaired. And it’s AI that lets this app scan your face and tell you that your lipstick is smudged, a carefully trained program that had to learn to differentiate between thousands of faces and accurately read them for makeup application.

“How an AI is trained is really critical,” Lamia Drew, Estée Lauder’s global director of inclusive technology and accessibility explains. “When creating VMA, we used thousands of images all across the Fitzpatrick scale to train the AI so that it could be capable of analyzing any face. That means accounting for diversity, skin tones and face shapes across the board. By the time we had a product to test, we had used another 50,000 images to help fine-tune the algorithm.”

Even content that users know is AI generated can have a positive impact when it comes to spreading awareness. “AI can be used positively to increase awareness in our field,” says Tucson, AZ plastic surgeon Raman Mahabir, MD. “We used it to create a poem about DIEP flap breast reconstruction and it did an outstanding job. We then used that AI-generated poem as part of our breast reconstruction awareness (BRA) day campaign.”

That’s not to mention all the new AI programs that have developed to help you find and even create your own bespoke formulas for beauty, skin and hair care. Companies like Prose use AI to assess a consumer’s goals and needs, as well as dozens of environmental factors, before outputting a personalized hair care treatment plan.

Do Users Want AI?

The short answer is not everywhere.

We tend to have very little problem with AI when it’s being used to open our phones for us or generate a bespoke perfume or hair care formula.

But there are definitely spaces where consumers prefer human-created to AI-generated.

Netizens are already anecdotally reporting huge drops in the amount of AI content on their for you pages. There’s also a host of negative reactions to the contentious AI beauty pageant. But perhaps more seriously, they report that the teens in their lives have begun referring to AI art as “Boomer Art.” If that’s not a death knell, we’re not sure what is.

But whats causing the shift away from openly embracing artificial intelligence?

Privacy Concerns

Another major reason for AI resistance is privacy. Many netizens of platforms like Reddit and Tumblr are quick to point out that AI involves a lot of tracking. To learn and get better, these programs are particularly data-hungry. And we all know the result of that data collection is monetization.

We know that big tech makes a lot of money off of user data. And the uptick in VPNs and security platforms designed to hide our data shows that there are consumers that are tired of being mined, monitored and monetized.

We Trust Humans

New data makes it clear that consistently incorrect answers from AI will degrade user trust. 71 percent said that mistakes would “break their trust” in the learning programs and associated products. Additionally, 56 percent of users say it’s difficult to get what they want out of AI. If you’ve ever struggled on the phone with a chatbot until you get transferred to a real human, that’s basically the experience.

Other research also indicates that even when AI isn’t actively getting things wrong, we still trust humans more by a wide margin.

The Next Big Thing Graveyard

Remember the Metaverse? What about NFTs? VR?

These were all promised to be the next big thing in tech and innovation. We were supposed to be living in VR by now if you believed Mark Zukerberg. But we’re not all shopping with crypto and no one cares about NFTs anymore.

What makes artificial intelligence any different?

In the sense that it’s become a buzzword necessary to make shareholders happy, it isn’t. On the other hand, generative learning programs have been around us for a while now, and will only continue to get better at what they do. From facial recognition to ChatGPT to traffic maps, artificial intelligence has been and will continue to be a critical part of our daily lives. AI has the potential to make nearly every market a bespoke, personalized one.

The truth is that artificial intelligence isn’t going anywhere.

But at the same time, there’s serious demand for human-first content.

AI on Beauty and Health

While Google’s program is still giving wildly incorrect answers, we honestly can’t say that following any advice from it to-the-letter is a safe call. There shouldn’t be anything inherently dangerous about advice you could get on makeup, but this program could literally suggest anything.

But even when the program gets better, and it will get better, it isn’t a good idea to put your health in the hands of an artificial intelligence. The internet is already awash with misleading health information and just plain misinformation masquerading as helpful advice from qualified experts. Adding AI to that list of content you should double check before acting on is a good idea.

And let’s be real, skincare and wellness advice is some of the most difficult to find credible, reliable information on. And the rise of face filters has resulted in another issue: more and more time in-office is spent managing patient expectations.

“While AI filters may be driving an increase in demand for plastic surgery, they are also driving somewhat unrealistic expectations. We spend more time managing expectations now than before as a result,” Dr. Mahabir explains. That extra time in the consult is ultimately spent wisely, often resulting in a change of heart from the patient. “Even when they come in asking for a ‘filter-like’ result, once you educate them and really spend the time with them, they realize they don’t really want to look fake, which is often the end result when you try to recreate an AI filter on a real person.”

No matter how good these programs become, they are no replacement for the qualifications and experience of a real, human doctor. And your doctor is a lot less likely to think 1912 was 20 years ago, just saying.

Qualified Experts, Human-Driven Content

That’s why it’s more important than ever to hone in on credible, reliable sources of content for your information. And why it’s so important to us at NewBeauty to be committed to providing you the essential information about beauty and wellness from experts that know what they’re talking about. That means hearing from board certified dermatologists, ophthalmologists and plastic surgeons, as well as the best of the best in the worlds of hair, skin and makeup.

Our work isn’t generated by an AI, and every product we recommend comes from the experience of a qualified beauty editor. Don’t get us wrong, we’re just as excited as everyone else when it comes to what artificial intelligence can do for society. But we have always believed that beauty is about real people and real experiences.

We’re proud to be a publication based-on and invested-in humans.

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