June 21, 2024


Sapiens Digital

What is Google’s new skin tone scale?

3 min read


Monk skin tone scaleGoogle

Google has unveiled a more diverse scale of skin tones to develop its artificial intelligence systems.

The new Monk Skin Tone Scale, named after Harvard University professor Dr Ellis Monk, has 10 skin tones.

Google says it will replace outdated skin tone scales which have a bias towards paler skins.

The tech company claim it will be used to improve products like search and photos.

What is a skin scale?

A skin tone scaleGetty Images

This skin tone scale appears to represent the Fitzpatrick scale of six different tones

Machine learning, a type of AI, is used by a lot of technology including cameras which recognise a face to unlock a phone or when your photos are categorised automatically.

But to get to this point researchers need to train the technology so that it can recognise a wide range of people.

To do this they use something called a skin scale. One of the most popular skin scales is the Fitzpatrick scale.

The Fitzpatrick Scale was originally put together in 1975. Its original use was to classify the response of different skin types to ultraviolet light. It was divided skin into six tones.


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