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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Big Brother Is Watching You -- And He Has Ice Cream!

If you happen to be going to Cannes this summer (and, really, if you aren't, you should be) mega-conglomerate Unilever is ready to tempt you with a treat straight out of Minority Report. The company has set up a vending machine that lets anyone who walks by score some free ice cream. The price? Just smile for the machine's facial recognition software, which will determine your age, gender and emotion. Only the most happy will get ice cream. The rest? We don't really know, but we seem to remember something having to do with stolen eyeballs that can be used to trick such systems.

The "Share Happy" machine can sense when it's being approached, and "captures and measures your smile 15 times a second, and when it's wide enough, rewards you with ice cream." Once you hit the jackpot, you can share your winning smile with friends via Facebook. As to who Unilever's sharing it with, and what they're doing with it, we can only imagine. But, hey, free ice cream seems like a fair price for helping educate the smart machines and help them build their dossier, right?

Unilever Ice Cream Machine Detects Emotion and Shares Happy [MobileBehavior via ReadWriteWeb]