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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Next Selfie

When top NASA scientists first began putting little cameras in cellphones, they never could've imagined that the number one use for those cameras would be taking pictures of ourselves.  Never in the history of photography has this been possible; moreover it never would've occurred to anyone to do it.  Cameras are for taking pictures of the Grand Canyon, or a baby taking its first steps, or other people, for example friends.  If you wanted a picture taken of yourself you had to ask or pay a stranger to do it, and even then only if there were something more interesting in the background, such as the Eiffel Tower.  It was assumed you would only take pictures of things you were really interested in.  Now it turns out, with unlimited picture-taking ability, what we're most interested in is ourselves.

This of course was always true, and we've had a primitive form of selfies called mirrors, but these were very crude by comparison, and even the vainest person could spend no more than half an hour a day in front of one, and for the rest of the time had to look at other people.

It might seem ironic that a device made specifically for communication with others would turn out to be another way to indulge our own self-absorption, but so be it.  Since this is already the case, why not make the most of it?  I have an idea for a new app, which frankly I'm surprised doesn't exist already, called the "Selfie-Talker."  (A sucky name, I know, but I'll let the boys down in marketing come up with a better.)

The idea is simple.  Conventional conversations are perfectly delightful so long as we're talking about ourselves; our allergies, our co-workers, our love-life, etc.  But 50% of the time, we're expected to listen as other people talk about themselves, their allergies, their co-workers, their love-life.  What a bore!  The Selfie-Talker takes all the drudgery out of conversation and leaves nothing but the pleasure.  Simply set it for "Sympathetic" and your phone will murmur a soothing series of "oh, dear," "oh, that's terrible," "no, really?" as your explain about your cat's leukemia or how you rear-ended someone on the way home.  Set it for "Enthusiastic" and you can brag away to your heart's content, as your phone says things like, "wow!" "that's fantastic," and "you must be so stoked!"

Again, as is so often the case in this blog, I offer a million-dollar idea, free of charge to the public, for anyone who will to make his fortune.  My only hope is in some small way, to advance the progress of mankind.

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