Susan Dey Is Now 64 & Unrecognizable
January 12, 2018
See that headline up there? It just appeared on my news feed, and it made me shudder. I'll tell you why.
Susan Dey or – as we women of a certain age know her – Keith Partridge's keyboard-playing younger sister, may be 64. But she could also be a victim of laptop shaming.
I became aware of this phenomenon recently after my trusty 85-year-old laptop went on the fritz.
Yes, this laptop was 85 years old. I'm speaking, of course, in computer years, which are comparable to dog years, presuming your dog undergoes semi-monthly updates.
My point is, a lot can happen in 85 computer years. The last time I bought a laptop, for example, computers were not judgmental. Sure, every time I started mine it acted like I'd awoken it from a deep sleep and it didn't want to see me. But it kept its feelings to itself.
My new laptop is different. When I first turned it on, this computer – with no warning whatsoever – asked me to look directly at its screen. It wanted to get to know me.
Mind you, this was first thing in the morning. I hadn't even brushed my teeth. No one wants to be introduced this way. Especially if this is how your computer is going to always remember you.
And believe me, this computer has an incredible memory. Every morning, it gives me the once-over before it lets me open any files.
I try to be accommodating. When it asks to see my face, I look at the screen and smile. A really big and friendly one.
Unbeknownst to my laptop, I also fret. I mean, if it recognizes me right away, it can signify only one thing: I must look awful.
I'm even MORE nervous if I've put in a little effort to make myself look good. Will my laptop even notice?
I'm going to be honest with you: I have felt tremendous satisfaction on more than one occasion when my laptop hasn't recognized my made-up self and asked for a PIN number instead. It was the best compliment I got all day.
Is that vain?
Laptops aren't the only devices that will shame you with their face recognition technology. A new $45,000 SUV has also been designed to unlock using a face scan.
Can you imagine calling AAA and explaining that you can't unlock your car door because you happen to like tinted contact lenses with your green dress? Or that you, like Susan Dey, aren't as young as you used to be and are, therefore, unrecognizable?
My point is, technology companies should be required to put a warning label, similar to cigarettes, on all new product packaging.
GOVERNMENT WARNING: APPLY MAKEUP BEFORE FIRST USE.
Of course, to avoid private humiliation, users might THEN feel the need to be camera-ready for every computer session.
In conclusion, technology is complicated.