The Age of Touchlessness took several steps closer this week.
Word circulated that credit card giant MasterCard has developed a new app that lets you “sign” a financial transaction with a video of your face blinking once. The blink is apparently to prevent someone from simply using a photo of you, although it doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to fake a blink.
The race starts now to come up with the best term for doing this, probably with some variation on “selfie.” I vote for: “I just selfed what I owe you.”
And, if we can only have one function, I would forgo using my blinking face to verify a payment if we could use it as a password.
Miami-based AdMobilize launched this week its newest AdBeacon device and accompanying software. The AdBeacon sits on a wall or on the counter of a store, or it can be mounted on top of a digital billboard.
It watches people going by and, through facial detection, can count passersby or detect what they’re looking at, as well as their age, gender, emotion, or, less accurately, their ethnicity. Stores and marketers use it to gauge store traffic, the effectiveness of paper or digital signage, the demographics of in-store customers, and the like.
It joins a growing category of companies — including RetailNext, Quividi, Apical, and Pecabu — that want to become Google Analytics for the real world. In fact, AdMobilize has already trademarked the term “pay-per-face.”
We learned this week that Google has submitted a new device to the Federal Communications Commission. Speculation is that it’s a followup to the original Google Glass, whose entire purpose in life is to make your voice and vision the primary ways you interact with the world.
But those developments are just the appetizers for the main course, which was predicted this week by Facebook CEO and cofounder Mark Zuckerberg.
“You’ll be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it, too.”
Of course, lots of people speculate about the coming of telepathy, often late at night when they are too wasted — one way or another — to do anything about it. But Zuckerberg’s ruminations are different, since he has the resources of a king.
Despite this week’s progress in making our hands into vestigial units, touch-based interaction between computing devices and we decaying carbon units is not going away anytime soon.
But voice-recognizing customer service, electric-eye automatic doors, and Siri have been around long enough that we’ve been trained for the eventuality.
Someday, touching a computing device to communicate with it will be considered the kind of add-on that it is for communicating with another human being.
You can do it, but it’s a frill.
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