What If Your Company Had an In-house Smile Detector?
Tokyo‘s Keihin Express Railway Company has one to measure its staff’s smiles.
Employees of the railway are required to smile into a camera and have their smile and facial structure analyzed by software to detect their happiness. The device analyzes the facial characteristics of a person, including eye movements, lip curves and wrinkles, and rates a smile on a scale between 0 and 100% using a camera and computer. Employees that fail to meet the smiling requirements, will be adviced to look less serious and more cheerful. Yikes.
The Japanese value customer service and BBC emphasizes that it’s “standard practice on trains (in Japan) for smartly dressed conductors to bow deeply as they enter or leave a carriage.” Does that mean analyzing a smile as a measure for objective customer service isn’t much different?
Luckily, I smile a lot. I think I would pass the test frequently, but that’s an interesting and mechanical approach. I believe it’s largely cultural and wouldn’t be able to fly in a U.S. workplace. I can say that working in the service industry, your approach, looks and amicable personality is imperative so I see where they’re going but I’m a little weary that we now have machines to detect smiles instead of a friendly reminder from your boss.
How would you feel if you had to use a smile detector? Do you think this is beneficial practice for companies to implement or not?