Whatever Happens, Be Sure to Smile; It Can’t Hurt

By Peter L DeHaan, PhD

Peter DeHaan, publisher and editorI recently renewed my passport, which required an updated photo. I went to a local store to take care of this so I could complete my renewal application.

I placed my toes on the line, looked into the camera, and put on my best smile. The technician scowled. “You’re not supposed to smile for passport photos.”

“Why?” I scowled back. Ten years ago I smiled; the picture wasn’t too bad.

“Facial recognition software doesn’t work as well when you smile.”

At this point I discovered when someone is about to take your picture and says, “Don’t smile,” it’s almost impossible to keep a straight face.

There was more scowling as she waited for me to look sufficiently dour. Then she snapped my picture.

When I picked up the photo a few minutes later, the results horrified me. However, since I don’t enjoy traveling, that’s probably how I look when I’m at the airport. The facial recognition software should have no problem matching me.

And for those who want to minimize the chance of airport security scanners from recognizing them, be sure to smile.

As we move into the new year, with uncertainties over the healthcare industry, the economy, and a host of other concerns, I offer the same advice: Be sure to smille.

Peter DeHaan is the publisher and editor of Medical Call Center News and AnswerStat magazine.

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