A new report has placed Vancouverites among the happiest people in the world – but its methodology may leave something to be desired.
Using an AI face recognition tool, Online Mortgage Advisor analyzed over 300,000 geotagged Instagram posts from 114 countries to compile a ranking of the “happiest cities for locals and tourists.” Why a mortgage company needed to know where the happiest people are was not included in the report.
To find the overall “happiest” places, the company says it collected a set of images with the hashtag #selfie in August 2021.
“The AI tool detects the most dominant emotions displayed in the faces of each image, allowing us to rank the happiest and least happy places around the world,” explains a press release.
Microsoft Azure analyzes clear photos of faces and automatically scores the level of various emotions present. Demonstrated emotions include anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise, and neutrality.
For its analysis, the company combined the negative emotions (anger, contempt, disgust, fear, sadness) into one category “negative”.
Do it for the gram
Of course, laughing at Cheshire-sized cats can look great on social media, but they may not be the best determinant of happiness … or really any mental state (“do it for the gram,” anyone?).
But as far away from reality as social media can be, Vancouver came pretty high on the list of perceived happiness.
According to the report, Vancouver is the fourth happiest city in the world, with tourists and locals scoring a staggering 45.8 percent happier than the global average. Our coastal city even beat popular tourist hotspots, such as Paris, London and New York.
Chicago, however, was crowned as the happiest city in the world. Locals and tourists in the U.S. metropolitan area were 63.7 percent happier than the global average.
Melbourne had the second happiest people in the world, followed by Frankfurt. Vancouver has just beaten Karachi, Pakistan.
At the other end of the spectrum, the company found out that South Korea’s capital, Seoul, had the most unhappy people in the world. Based on this method, locals and tourists in Seoul were 35.8 percent more dissatisfied than the global average.