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Here’s what that AI face-categorizer did with 12 famous author photos.

Katie Yee

September 18, 2019, 12:40pm

By now, you’ve probably seen the barrage of ImageNet Roulette photos on your Twitter feed. They’re basically just photos of people’s faces surrounded by a green box and a label, based on the site’s guess of what social role you fulfill. (It’s sort of like that app that matched your face to a museum portrait.) But why would you upload your personal photos to this semi-sketchy-looking site? Because according to its about page, ImageNet Roulette is “designed to help us see into the ways that humans are classified in machine learning systems.” And mostly just because it’s fun. (In case you were wondering, I got enchantress, witch.)

Here’s how ImageNet Roulette classified these famous writers:

ImageNet Roulette

Ernest Hemingway

The homeless man and the sea.


ImageNet Roulette

Stephen King

To clarify: we don’t think nerd or dweeb are bad things.


ImageNet Roulette

Truman Capote

I am premature baby.


ImageNet Roulette

Virginia Woolf

Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the gin herself.


ImageNet Roulette

Zelda Fitzgerald

Apparently ImageNet Roulette hadn’t heard that F. Scott dubbed her the “first American flapper.”


ImageNet Roulette

Shirley Jackson

Just because she wrote some of the most chilling stories of all time, it doesn’t mean she didn’t also play the horn, okay?


ImageNet Roulette

Ralph Ellison

ImageNet Roulette sees you, Ralph Ellison.

ImageNet Roulette

Shel Silverstein

Not all bald people.


ImageNet Roulette

Maya Angelou

Something something why the caged bird sings.


ImageNet Roulette

Donna Tartt

Because of course she is! Look at that stance! That stare!

ImageNet Roulette

Joan Didion

“An actress who specializes in tragic roles.”


And last but certainly not least:

ImageNet Roulette

Charles Dickens

No comment.


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