I started losing my hair in my forties, to the great delight of my brother Seth, who is four years younger. Whenever he’d mock my balding pate, I’d just nod, point to my head, and say, “Laugh all you want, buddy, but this is you in a few years!”
I thought about that recently when a program called FaceApp went viral. It uses artificial intelligence to allow millennials who upload their photos to see what they’ll look like when they age (e.g. in 30 years). It also turned out to be a huge invasion of users’ privacy as designed by Russian programmers, a way to get inside their phones and access all sorts of personal information.
Why did it become popular in the first place? Because Steph Curry, Cardi B, and other celebs — known as influencers, but not exactly security experts — used FaceApp and posted the results on their social media platforms. The lemmings who follow them online then downloaded it, too, unaware they were giving unseen developers entree to their digital worlds.
That’s just stupid, although the one benefit to FaceApp is that it gives twenty-somethings a chance to see what they’ll look like in the future — as middle-aged people who get fired from their jobs because the company wants to save money by hiring twenty-somethings who will work for less.