Are You A Hipster? Your Computer May Have The Answer

From now on, whenever somebody asks you the age-old question, "Are you a hipster?" the response, "I don't know, but now will you let me listen to the new Vampire Weekend album in peace?" will no longer be acceptable. That's because Serge Belongie, a professor of computer science at The University of California, San Diego, has developed a program that can identify whether or not you're a hipster based on your photos.
The program uses an algorithm that identifies specific, unifying characteristics in photos that depict a group of friends. Belongie was inspired by the ubiquitous "dinner shot" as he recently told ABC News. "It was the group shot where people are eating dinner and someone says, ‘Hey! Let’s take a photo!’” he explained. “There’s something about those photos that pop out and says what type of people they are.”
For all you non-hipsters who feel left out (what else is new), fear not. The program can identify up to 11 different social tribes, including bikers, ravers, surfers, and goths, among others. It does so by identifying a specific set of features from its target. For surfers, it looks for objects shaped like surfboards, and for hipsters it looks for beards and plaid shirts.
It all sounds a bit reductive, but Belongie claims that the software is successful 48 percent of the time, whatever that means. Although we can't see the project having any real-world value, we've been looking for something other than Tinder to help us pass the time when we don't feel like thinking, like at all. That, and we've been just dying to find out if our neighbor with a plaid shirt, but no beard, is a hipster or not. Where do we sign up? (ABC News)

Illustrated by David Galletly


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