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Future Tech: 

Would you trust this robot to do your makeup?


“Sorry, is this not what you asked for?”

Robots may be becoming increasingly skilled and smart, but there are still limits to what they’re capable of. You might trust a robot to clean your floor or even serve you at the bank, but you probably don’t want it to be picking up your kids from school, for instance. Similarly, when it comes to applying makeup, it’s really a job that requires a human touch.

This, at least, is the concept behind Beautification, a robot-themed art project that wants to question the idea of homogenous beauty standards. The installation, which was shown-off Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2015, is a clever way of visualizing how the human face can come in many different forms, and no single, robotic idea of beauty fits all.

The robot itself consists of two automated arms, one which draws rigid swipes of black paint on the subject’s face, and the other which paints a perfect circle of lipstick around their mouth. The results are purposely disastrous, but a flawless makeup job was never really the intention for creators Maya Pindeus and Johanna Pichlbauer.

“Computers and machines in general are damned to miss out on the beauty that is in a human face, in its irregularities, its uniqueness,” they said on the project’s website. “They are programmed to work with the normative and the flawless.

“Our installation aims at sparking the conversation about the nature of beauty and the emotional potential of human/machine relationships. If aesthetic judgements are resigned to robot intelligence, would it make our lives emotionally less complicated?”

While we applaud the installation’s message, we’d still like to see if a decent makeup bot could be designed. After all, if a robot can forge your handwriting, surely it could be your beautician as well with the right training.

In the meantime, you can watch the Beautification installation in action below;

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