Big Brother Has Finally Met Father Time

by MADDY MADISON · May 13, 2008

Father timeWhat if when you reached for that bottle of Hawaiian Tropic coconut-drenched sunbathing oil, a machine scanned your body for signs of sun damage to see who would get a bottle of the good stuff and who would be stuck with Neutrogena'd zebra stripes. Well, we're not there yet but Japan (who else?) has devised a way to turn crows feet and other red flags of fleshy decay into that deli clerk that refused to sell you cigarettes in high school. A new machine may be the latest weapon in the country's arsenal against underage smoking, which for our Hello Kitty-loving allies in the Pacific means 20:

"By having the customer look into a digital camera attached to the machine, Fujitaka Co's system will compare facial characteristics, such as wrinkles surrounding the eyes, bone structure and skin sags, to the facial data of over 100,000 people..."With face recognition, so long as you've got some change and you are an adult, you can buy cigarettes like before. The problem of minors borrowing (identification) cards to purchase cigarettes could be avoided as well,' Hajime Yamamoto, a company spokesman said...The system could correctly identify about 90 percent of the users, with the remaining 10 percent sent to a "grey zone" for "minors that look older, and baby-faced adults.""

Looks like Big Brother has finally met Father Time.

A New Wrinkle [Reuters]

* I am as pale as the sun is hot so I don't consider sunbathing oil the "good stuff." But, I recognize that not everyone looks like Casper in a bikini so, this is for them. See you at the dermatologist!