16 August 2019

Ars Technica: “FaceTime feature in iOS 13 feigns eye contact during video calls”

It’s a slick application of Apple’s augmented reality tools, which are admittedly impressive and powerful. But how many people are clamoring for this feature? Is there any real benefit to making it seem like we’re staring into each other’s windows to the soul when we FaceTime?

There’s an argument in favor of making the experience of video chatting feel more natural, but there’s an equal argument against forcing an appearance of intimacy or attention. Eye contact is one of those subtle cues that varies from person to person. If someone who rarely meets my gaze seems to suddenly be doing so all the time on a video call, that’s going to make our interaction more surreal, not less.

Anna Washenko

In a world where manipulated videos are becoming commonplace – and potentially extremely toxic for public life, it seems irresponsible to introduce this sort of feature as default for a wide number of iPhone users. This paves the way for people casually accepting altered real-time video feeds as ‘genuine’ without any critical thinking, which poses greater problems than the text-based ‘fake news’ from previous years.

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