This Creepy App Lets You Take Selfies With Dead Relatives

File this under: Creepy Tech. South Korean company Elrois Inc. is developing a new app that lets users 3-D scan their relatives and turn them into virtual avatars so they can talk and take selfies with them when they’re away — or dead.

“With Me”, showcased this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, uses 3-D photo-realistic technology and artificial intelligence to help recreate the image and persona of a relative, friend, or even a celebrity. Users can have conversations with the avatars and tell them things such as “I love you,” and the avatar can reply with, “I love you, too.”

Avatars will also respond to certain face expressions when taking selfies and recognize emotional change. If you were to pucker up, the avatar will turn to the side and pretend to kiss you. If you were to open your mouth in disbelief, the avatar would do the same.

“Users put personal information when starting this app, the avatars remember the user from that time and recognizes if there’s some change in appearance and emotion, and mentions it, such as ‘you look younger today, what is your secret?’” Eunjin Lim, spokesperson for Elrois Inc., told Vocativ.

“With Me” is clearly morbid since it’s aim is to use a dead person as a form of entertainment, but it could also potentially help people cope with depression or anxiety when they go long periods of time (perhaps forever) without seeing a loved one’s familiar face.

Lim said the app can not only help for who have had loss in their family but also disabled or elderly people who have trouble moving. “We think the avatars can be the new way to overcome their wounded-heart with a good function of new technology. That also means it can be definitely be used for various healthcare fields,” he said.

The app is in its early stages and requires people to visit a 3-D scanning photo booth in order to create their avatar. Elrois hopes the app will be more accessible in the future, as phones include 3-D scanning technology.

“Some people told us that our app reminds them of ‘Black Mirror,’” Lim said. “However, when we think about the reason why we take a picture or video, I could say, people want to leave their memories by what we can see forever. Also, people do everything to remember some precious person to them, or try to move on.”

How to Take a Ballot Selfie and Not Get Arrested

Early voting is in full swing, and in 2016, that means people are just as excited about bragging that they voted as they are about actually participating in democracy. Unfortunately, because this is America, actively playing a part in the electoral process can bring about some real legal trouble, and in this case, the newly ubiquitous ballot selfie has been causing a stir, as a number of states have outlawed taking photos in the voting booth. In those states, voters caught taking pictures with their ballots, particularly if they’re already filled out, could face a fine or even jail time.

This leads to an important moment of self-reflection: Would I risk jail time for humble-bragging? Of course I would. But where I’d face that jail time is unclear: While the practice of ballot selfies is only full-on illegal in sixteen states, the majority of the country has a murky policy that leaves most voters just as confused and under-informed as the officials who are supposed to be enforcing their punishment.

Not everyone is willing to take such a risk, so we’ve done our patriotic duty and compiled a list of ways to let the world know how very woke and civically engaged you are without ending up in prison.

Take a photo outside your polling place.

This is the most conservative route, if you feel it’s better to be safe than sorry. At their harshest, lawmakers are declaring that there be no photography taken within 100 meters of a polling place, so measure your steps and get out that iPhone.

Take a photo with your mail-in ballot.

While you run the highest risk to get in trouble if you take a photo on-site at a polling place, it’s far less likely you’ll receive flack for throwing a filter on your mail-in ballot. Sure, there’s a possibility that a particularly sharp state representative might be combing through the #ivoted hashtag on Twitter and bust you, but the chances are significantly lower. And seriously, if they’re doing that, they need a new hobby.

That’s why they gave you the sticker, dummy.

The “I Voted!” stickers given out at polling places have been popular fixtures since the 1980s and for many, hold a certain amount of social currency. While many voters believe that everyone should have the right to make their ballots as public as their opinions are under the First Amendment, the stickers simply note that you’re an active participant. If you want to make a bigger splash than just saying you did it, that’s where the controversy of making a ballot public comes in.

Take a photo with your unmarked ballot.

In many states, this still carries a pretty significant risk, but if you absolutely needto show the world you made it all the way into a voting booth (go you!), pout and pose before you actually cast your vote. The reason that this causes such a conflict of interest in the first place is that while all Americans are entitled to freedom of speech, they’re just as entitled to the integrity of the voting process. How do filled-in ballot photos threaten that? Well, that’s the dilemma — not all states agree that they do.

Just brag that you’re voting without picturing the ballot.

Studies universally indicate that people are more likely to vote themselves if they see that their friends on Facebook are voting, too. Do what you’ve gotta do; wrap your naked body in the flag, get an “I’m With Her” neck tattoo, write a hideous song, and post it online. Obviously it is by no means illegal to reveal who you’ve voted for online (that’s what Twitter was built for), but in some places it can be flying too close to the sun to show the very paperwork on which you’re making it official. Either way, ballot-less selfies will still be encouraging to the more reluctant voters perusing your feed, and that’s just science.

Do whatever you want because the laws will probably change soon, anyway.

Because the laws can range from no punishment to jail time for an innocent snapshot, experts predict that the actual punishments imposed in the sixteen (mostly southern) states that technically make voting selfies illegal won’t be very severe; after all, most voters don’t know that what they’re doing is, in fact, illegal. The worry most states cite, in spite of frustration expressed by major social channels like Snapchat, is that posting a completed ballot will encourage vote buying, though no studies have indicated that is true.

So what happens if I you get caught, really?

In the states where ballot selfies are flat out illegal — New York, New Mexico, Colorado, Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Connecticut, and New Jersey — punishment can range from a small fine to a jail stint of a few months. In other places like California, it’s okay to take a ballot selfie this time around, but it’ll be outlawed after this election. While there haven’t been many reported cases of actual legal entanglements resulting from ballot selfies in the early voting process thus far, high-profile figures like Justin Timberlake have received a public slap on the wrist for making their voting experience public.

This election season, it’s more important than ever to remind your friends both to vote themselves and, more importantly, show them how good you look voting. Just please, make sure that selfie doesn’t include handcuffs.

Scientists Find That People Who Take Selfies Regularly Overestimate How Attractive They Are

If you’re a fan of filling up your Instagram and Snapchat feeds with selfies, you might want to reconsider – a new study suggests that you’re probably not as beautiful as you think you are, and plastering your face all over the internet isn’t giving the world the best impression.

Yup, in a new shade-throwing study, researchers say that independent observers typically view rampant selfie-takers as more narcissistic, less attractive and less likeable compared to individuals who forgo the solo photos.

In the study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of Toronto, scientists gathered 198 college students. One hundred of these students were selfie-takers, while the other 98 reported little to no selfie-snapping.

These students were asked to take a selfie fit for social media, and were then also photographed by one of the team members, resulting in each participant having a selfie and a standard picture of themselves.

With these pictures in hand, the students rated how attractive they thought other people would find them. The team then had a group of 178 independent, outside observers rate the photos for attractiveness, likability and narcissism.

When all was said and done, both groups – the selfie-takers and non-selfie-takers – reported themselves more attractive than they were rated by the outside group, though the selfie-takers were off by a greater degree, reports David Hayward for PsyPost.

Also, all of the researcher-taken photos were rated higher than the selfie photos. Plus, the selfie-takers were rated significantly higher on the narcissism scale.

The study had a pretty limited sample size, so more work needs to be done to verify and confirm the results. But basically the research is suggesting that not only do people think they are way hotter than they actually are, but taking selfies also significantly decrease people’s opinions of you.

“Selfie-takers generally over perceived the positive attributes purveyed by their selfies,” the team said in a report by Adam Boult for The Telegraph. “Here, we found that selfie-takers believed their selfies to look more attractive and likeable than photos of them taken by other people.”

So, if taking selfies is perceived so poorly, why the heck do so many people do? It comes down a well-known psychological phenomenon called ‘self-favouring bias’, which states that “people have a tendency to perceive themselves as being better than average on a wide range of positive traits”, reports Hayward.

Basically, people think they’re better than others. This isn’t news, but those feelings are greatly increased when people have more control.

For selfies, people pretty much have the most control possible because they can adjust the angle of the shot, the filter, when they post them to social media and every other aspect. The study suggests that this causes people to have a rather extreme bout with self-favouring bias.

This isn’t the first study to ponder the negative side of the selfie craze, either. Last year, researchers from Ohio State University said that male selfie-lovers show signs of psychopathy. And based on media reports, selfie-taking killed more people last year than sharks.

All of these studies are basically saying that maybe it’s time to cool it with the selfies. After all, if you’re friends with someone on Instagram, they probably know what your face looks like, no need to remind them hundreds of times a day.

The new study was published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Selfies Are Ruining Your Relationship, According to Florida State Study

A new study may have you thinking twice about posting a selfie to Instagram. According to research done by Florida State University, those self-indulgent photos could actually be having a negative impact on your relationships.

To determine the consequences of posting selfies a team of doctors surveyed a total of 420 Instagram users between the ages of 18 and 62. Each person was asked to provide information on the number of selfies they post, their feelings about themselves after, and the current state of their relationships.

What the researchers found was that body image perception was highly influenced by the feedback they received on their selfies. When the approval for their photos was high, so was their personal satisfaction—no suprise there. But, when the response was negative, satisfaction fell. Apparently, that can create Instagram-related conflict and dealing with the online haters can lead to a negative impact on your relationships IRL.

“When Instagram users promote their body image satisfaction in the form of Instagram selfie posts, risk of Instagram-related conflict and negative romantic relationship outcomes might ensue,” the study said.

So, if your relationships are more important than chasing likes on the ‘Gram, you might want to lay off the selfies.

‘Selfie Arms’ Might Be The Only Thing That Look More Stupid Than Selfie Sticks

Sometimes, innovation is bad. I just want to go on record saying that, and I want to say that nothing looks more stupid than trying to cover up something stupid. Selfie sticks are stupid! I want everyone to live their truth and use them and have stupid fun, but let’s not add to the stupidity of the situation.

Or let’s. A Japanese man who goes by the name Mansun has devised a way to disguise your selfie stick with none other than an imitation human arm. Here’s a breakdown of his proposed solution to your so-called ‘problem.’

First, you will need the confidence to do this in public. Then, a selfie stick with a human hand built in. Naturally.

And then you’re good to go! You look like one of those windsock men that flags people down for car sales, but you know. Whatever.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch is Trying to Ruin Cereal With the Selfie Spoon

Enjoy cereal? Enjoy the thought of other people looking at photos of you eating cereal? Well, if you answered “yes” to both of those questions, Cinnamon Toast Crunch has the perfect device to meet your demented needs: the selfie spoon.

The selfie spoon combines all the function of a spoon with the stupidity that is slowly chipping away at humanity of the selfie stick. The selfie spoon extends up to 30 inches and connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, so you can snap a selfie of you slurping up cereal like a 5-year old.

I should point out that the spoon is free — probably because General Mills knows that nobody would actually pay money for such a stupid gimmick.

Considering that more people have died this year from selfie accidents than shark attacks, it might be a good idea leave selfies out of breakfast. The last thing you want is to slip and impale yourself with a 30-inch spoon.

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Reports Show That Selfies Have Killed More People Than Sharks This Year

According to media reports, at least 12 people have been killed in selfie-related incidents so far in 2015 and many more injured, while only eight have died as a result of shark attacks.

The latest selfie-related death was of a 66-year-old Japanese tourist, who reportedly suffered a heart attack while posing with a selfie stick at the Taj Mahal in India last week. Other deaths have been caused by distracted photo-takers falling off cliffs,crashing their cars, being hit by trains, and even shooting themselves while posing with guns.

In fact, the selfie craze has proven so dangerous that officials in Australia had to fence off a 16-storey high rock that looks like a wedding cake because people wouldn’t stop taking photos on it, despite fears it could collapse at any time.

Russia has also experienced its share of accidents: two men in the Urals were killed while taking a selfie of themselves holding a hand grenade with the pin pulled out (the photo survived as proof), and a teenager died in May while climbing onto a railway bridge to take a photo.

The incidents have caused the Russian government to launch a campaign to warn people about the dangers of selfies, which included the following poster:

selfie-poster

So what is it that makes selfie-takers so likely to put themselves in danger? Research published by Ohio State University last year found that men who post a lot of selfies score higher in traits of narcissism and psychopathy in online tests. While all the participants were still in the healthy range, this suggests that they may be more inclined to focus on personal gain in situations, rather than potential danger.

“It’s all about me. It’s putting me in the frame. I’m getting attention and when I post that to social media, I’m getting the confirmation that I need from other people that I’m awesome,” lead researcher Jesse Fox told Reuters. “You don’t care about the tourist attraction you’re destroying; you don’t care about annoying people in your social media feed … you’re not even thinking about the consequences of your actions, so who cares if you’re dangling off the side of the Eiffel Tower?”

And, yes, we know this news isn’t strictly science. But it’s an important and timely reminder that sharks aren’t the murderous beasts that the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week has made them out to be.

So how do the shark attack numbers stack up? According to the Global Shark Attack File, there have been 74 unprovoked shark attacks this year. Only eight incidents have resulted in death.

We’re not suggesting that people don’t need to be careful and aware of shark attack risks when entering the water. But not only does the likelihood of being killed by a shark pale in comparison to the deadliness of selfies, it’s also a lot lower than the number of deaths caused by dog attacks and home renovations. In fact, pretty mucheverything you do today (particularly if it involves a car) is more likely to kill you than a shark.

Of course, it’s hard not to be afraid of giant fish with teeth, but we need to keep the facts in mind so that we can make rational decisions about things like shark culls, which have no scientific backing.

Instead, maybe we should try to put a ban on the phrase “pics or it didn’t happen“. Because, statistically speaking, that sh*t is way more dangerous than a great white.