One of my very favorite pastimes in high school (and as recently as last week, it's true) was sitting with my feet in the bathroom sink, staring intensely at my face in the mirror, determining what was good (and what was crazy bad) about my visage.
But sometime soon-ish, I won't need to bother sitting in the sink anymore, because tech giant Panasonic has just introduced a mirror that helpfully points out all your flaws for you (they call it "evaluating" your face) — then advises you as to what products you can purchase to "fix" them. By analyzing your mug with built-in high-definition cameras, this "virtual" mirror can pinpoint things like wrinkles (ya don't say, why do you think I got bangs), sun damage, "too-big" pores, and a host of other skin "problems."
What a gimmick, huh?
"This is not a gimmick, it's a serious technology solution," says Julie Bauer, president of Panasonic's consumer electronics for North America. She likely missed the part that calling something a "solution" usually means it's solving a problem — and as far as Panasonic's concerned, it seems the problem is all those haggard lady faces.
Panasonic's presentation of the mirror at this week's Consumer Electronics Show (also known as CES) in Las Vegas did take a very small amount of care to present it as a tool for men as well -- showing them what they would like like with a beard, a mustache, etc., but the real money is in preying on female insecurites, and we all know it.
Some of the helpful suggestions "mirror mirror on the wall" made for the gentleman in the video above are:
"You could stand to have a little more juice!" (From a Panasonic juicer, natch.)
"Maybe you could use a face spa!" (Would you believe it, also available from Panasonic!)
Panasonic says the best part of this fairy princess mirror is that it "tracks your progress" from week to week, letting you know if the products the mirror sold to you are working or not. This is made possible by the Internet of Things, or IoT, which is a host of Web-connected lifestyle gadgets (such as the Nest thermostat) that do all the thinking for you — or as some would say, casually controlling your life. From ZeroHedge.com:
"Cue the dawning of the Age of the Internet of Things, in which internet-connected 'things' will monitor your home, your health and your habits in order to keep your pantry stocked, your utilities regulated and your life under control and relatively worry-free.
The key word here, however, is control.
Unfortunately, in our race to the future, we have failed to consider what such dependence on technology might mean for our humanity, not to mention our freedoms."
To put it another way: Not only will this bizarro-town mirror possibly make you feel lousy about yourself, it's also likely beaming every single detail about your face, body, and habits straight to Big Brother.
But did I mention that you look really pretty today? 'Cause you do. No matter what the mirror tells you.
I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison