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Should I insure my face or my car?

Yesterday’s crooks kidnapped victims just for their thumbprints to open safes. In today’s age of facial-recognition technology, that’s disconcerting

Gulf News

Very soon my car will recognise my face and open the door to let me in, which is amazing because most mornings I do not recognise myself.

The face recognition technology will be so smart the car can tell whether I had a haircut, changed my eyeglasses or had grown my beard during the vacations.

I am sure there will be fail-safe methods to get into the car just in case some despicable hacker hacks into the system and the car refuses to let me in. Imagine having to run behind your car as it drives away without you.

It is mind-boggling the way technology is progressing; it seems like only yesterday when I could open the car door by pressing my thumb print on the door handle. Just kidding, I drive an ancient car and I am not an early adapter of technology. The “pre-booking” of the latest smartphone or waiting in queue through the night to get the latest gadget is not for me.

My car is still in the keyless entry era and it honks twice very loudly every time I lock or unlock it by pressing the key fob. I tend to scare people in the parking lots of malls and occasionally also the neighbour, who tries to sneak a quick smoke away from his wife in the night, and the car screams at him twice in quick succession.

Most mornings I see myself in the bathroom mirror and sigh at the guy staring back with bleary eyes because of a night-long session on social media, the few strands of hair on my head standing straight up, and there is nothing that technology can do about my looks.

I do not know how the car will do it, but imagine being able to recognise me early morning when I get in, with sleep lines on my face.

I must confess I am not an early riser and one day there was an early morning meeting. I woke up with a start even before the alarm could go off because of my open-mouthed loud snoring. I had bought soft goose feather pillows that make you feel like you are sleeping on a cloud.

One scrunched-up pillow had left deep lines on the face as if a Japanese Yakuza gangster had slashed me with a knife.

“Quick, how can I get rid of these lines? I cannot attend a meeting looking like this,” I said to my wife.

“Don’t worry, everyone will be sleepy, nobody will notice anything. Everyone gets old,” said my wife philosophically. “Splash cold water on your face.”

You do not get cold water in the taps in Dubai, especially during the summer, so I rushed to the fridge and brought back ice cubes and dumped them into the sink. “Paul Newman [‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’] would do this every morning to keep his face unlined and fresh,” I said.

My wife sees only animated movies like ‘Frozen’ so she did not know what I was talking about.

When I surfaced from the freezing water my cheeks were ruddy and flushed and the pillow face lines were more prominent.

According to experts you should do jumping jacks or go for a morning jog to get the heart to pump blood around the body and face and make the lines disappear. Or apply tea bags over the wrinkles on your skin. But who has time for all that? In the crime movie thrillers of yesteryear, thieves would kidnap a person for the victim’s thumbprints to open a safe. Wonder what the crooks will think of if they want to steal a car with face recognition technology? Would I have to insure my face along with the car?

Mahmood Saberi is a freelance journalist based in Dubai. You can follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ mahmood_saberi.

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