First Click: In the future, all of our selfies will be perfect

March 17th, 2016

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People in China are paying $1,000 for a selfie camera that captures their “true beauty." Quartz ran an article about it this week, and it’s pretty fascinating. The camera is officially known as the Casio Exilim EX-TR70, but in China, it’s more commonly referred to as zipai shenqi, or “the magical weapon for ultimate selfies.”

That’s because the camera’s main selling point is its automatic image editing, which makes a user’s face look thinner, with brighter eyes and adjusted skin tones — features that Quartz describes as "surgery enhanced." There are lots of photo-editing apps that allow for similar doctoring, and they’re especially popular in the Asia-Pacific region, but the zipai shenqi handles all that processing itself, and it’s in high demand. The camera is listed among the top-selling on a popular Chinese electronics retailer, and Casio jacked up its price after previous versions were resold at a premium online.

casio selfie camera

It’s a little unsettling to think about where this kind of automated filtering could lead — a world where we’re all just idealized versions of ourselves — but that’s kind of where we already are. We regularly "beautify" our lives through the filters of Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media, and it’s not like portraiture has always been a science, either. A Reddit thread from a few years ago pointed to examples of kings and queens whose portraits were likely rooted more in idealism or propaganda than physical accuracy. The only difference is that we’re now all royalty, and our phones are our court painters.

Those who have used the camera say its filters aren’t as extreme as they may seem. "It’s not like it moves you way up on the scale of prettiness," one woman told Quartz. "If you’re a seven, the camera makes you an eight, not a nine or a ten. It’s not that crazy." Apparently, technology still has its limits.


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Selfie(s) of the day