Learning to smile

Sony's new innovation: cameras that release the shutter automatically when they detect you smiling. Here's the commercial starring KASHII Yū and WATANABE Tetsu. You won't see many others this year that open with the talent looking bored.

We viewers are implicitly identified with the product itself. This is only fair, as the product is designed to do our viewing for us. No longer shall we shoulder the burden of pressing a button at the most appropriate time. This camera can do it for us. No doubt its algorithms, disembodied and deterministic, do a much better job of it than our jerry-rigged, super-split-second-timed tendon-and-nerve setup, too.

And even if they don't, it won't matter, because as this technology spreads we will get better at smiling the way it expects us to.

One day we will have cameras that can follow us everywhere, applying heuristic upon heuristic to determine if what we are doing is interesting enough to photograph, and, if so, when our smile is at its most delightful. Photography-as-record will be as ubiquitous and as invisible as air, and the age-old conflict with photography-as-art will fizzle into irrelevance.

The artists will be the ones whose hovercams are Lomo-3000s set to "Quirky".

Back to the commercial: Note also Sony's attempt to replace the smile-muscle-flexing cheese with their own name. This works in Japan because the /y/ is long, twice as long as the /o/, and no less stressed. I have my doubts that it will work in English, where we generally pronounce the /y/ in a much more perfunctory manner.

Popularity factor: 4


It looks like it detects when the teeth show. So we'll get a new generation of hideously forced smiles.


I'm blackening mine.


Haguro.. the perfect solution!

No doubt someone is working on ways to detect when two (and only two) fingers per person are raised, though.


Or one.

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