I am an identical twin. Born in 1981, my twin brother Jesse and I are clearly nestled in the xennial generation and have been greatly impacted by the advancement in technology as we all have.
As an identical twin you can imagine the kinds of questions that have come to pass through the decades. Here are some gems off the top of my head.
- When you look in the mirror how do you know you are not your brother?
- Do your hearts beat the same?
- How can you tell your self apart in photographs?
- Do you guys like the same stuff?
- Which one is the evil twin? (thanks kubic!)
- Can you know what your brother is thinking right now?
- If you get hurt does your brother feel it?
Identity is an interesting concept and as Twins we navigated those waters in different ways. One way was we both took to using technology much differently. I went into graphic design (ux design), my twin into sciences (dentistry) but we grew up in a household that was solidly Apple centric. I can still remember my father bringing home a Macintosh II cii when we were in elementary school.
Playing around with the computer was always a curiosity of ours. I particular took to learning how the computer could help with my drawing / doddling, and comics that we constantly made with our best friend across the street. The tinkering has had direct connection to my current job as a Sr. UX Designer / UX/UI Curriculum Manager. Apple has done amazing things and used really clever educational tactics to make users prefer their hardware and software. I mean learning to use a computer on a mac impacted how I learned all other subsequent platforms and software systems. Though I am solidly a “mac” user as a UX designer this does not keep me from keeping a keen eye on what they are doing.
Apple previewed a new security and unlocking feature for the new iPhone X. FaceID. When FaceID was revealed. I audibly said “Oooh creepy” and I imagine I am not alone.
iPhone X features a new all-screen design. Face ID, which makes your face your password. And the most powerful and…
Now this “innovation” is an extenston of the thinking that brought us the thumb ID. ie. Users open their phones 100’s of times a week…if we can decrease the friction / interaction users will user their phones more is I imagine the KPI iPhone X is attempting to address.
Convenience is a value and a valid reason to remove or diminish any interaction however it creates a whole other set of issues around “trust” in technology.
Can we really rely as individuals to trust Apple with something as intimate to identity as our face?
For a company as big as apple they are taking in my opinion a large leap of faith as to how comfortable users are with their technology.
Leap of faith: Felix Baumgartner's historic jump from the edge of space
As you can imagine, leaping out of a capsule 23 miles above Roswell, N.M., isn't a plan you cook up in a week or two…
The implication of Apple possessing at facial recognition database for the Billions + phone users is potentially both game changing but also has potential risks.
Just think of walking into a not to distant Apple store and any computer you walk infront of :
1. Knows your name.
2. Follows you through the store.
3. Is looking to gain your attention.
4. Can address your preferences.
From Apple perspective I am sure this scenario sounds fantastic just like the future from Minority Report.
Optimistically, They could help customer faster, be more personal, customize features and communication, etc…
Pessimistically, they could not hire as many blue shirted Apple sales people, scale the technology and use it more than just their stores, could lock down your identity if you don’t pay your bills, etc…
When our technology looses its ability to be passive and interacted with via the controller (user) than who has control?
As a twin I am curious if the technology will be good enough to work between us. We will have to test it I imagine. Perhaps we will be the 1 in 1,000,000 that is doesn’t work for. (That would be quite the ego boost!)
But from a larger more existential position do we want our technology to recognize identity?
If you haven’t seen Her, I imagine that will be closer to the truth and I hope Apple isn’t making that same mistake.