A new vending machine uses facial recognition technology to decide whether you can have that those Twinkies or that bag of Fritos.
If the lean, mean LUCE X2 decides you look a little too jowly for all those carbs, you’ll be denied and steered to a healthier snack.
Which means that you’ll feel like a teenager outside the 7-11 all over again, except this time instead of trying to get an “adult” to buy your beer, you’ll be lurching from the shadows to approach a random skinny person and beg her to buy your ranch-flavored Doritos.
In a demonstration of this “smart” vending machine (already in use in the U.K.), you can see the customer walk up and see himself on a TV monitor inside the vending machine. The LUCE X2 uses the video camera to take a quick measure of the customer’s approximate age, general appearance and MOOD to determine if the purchase of the requested snack is wise.
While this sort of thing may take off in England, I’m having a hard time imagining its success here in the American South, where a typical vending machine has at least three flavors of pork rinds, bless God.
I’m also underwhelmed by the video camera assessment and here’s why:
Every week when I volunteer at my daughter’s school, I sign in and get a volunteer pass only after I have my picture taken by the anti-predator computer thing. The camera angle is almost impossible to get right, so I bob and weave and, finally, I’m rewarded with a pass that includes a grainy picture of my left earlobe and not much else. Presumably, it doesn’t match the database of any predator earlobe, so I can start my shift.
But if a machine is going to deny my snack request based on my appearance, I’d argue that wearing a turtleneck instead of a V neck can add at least 10 pounds visually. Maybe I’ll just take a change of clothes.
As to the LUCE X2 detecting my MOOD, well, I can guarantee it’s not going to be good if I can’t get my hands on those Swiss Cake Rolls.
D-7. I know it by heart.
In the workplace, the machine can be programmed to use a consumer’s personal medical records to determine if a snack food should be dispensed. Great. That leaves free-range baked kale chips for me.
With 2015 upon us, I have to believe that this may be the year that machines finally take over. Just recently, Lowe’s home improvement stores introduced bilingual wheeled robots that are programmed to help you find what you need and even lead you to it.
Don’t worry; I’m sure they’ll program a select few robots to wear that red vest and run away as soon as you try to get their attention, just to keep the human touch. Probably go straight to the break room and gossip with the Roombas. Oh, and eat nothing at all.