Ah, so this is how Skynet starts…

Scientists at the University of Tokyo Sony CSL (Computer Science Labs) have come up with an ingenious way of cheering people up- forcing them to smile in exchange for easy access to their food.

Attaching a device called as a “Happiness Counter” to a regular refrigerator, Sony’s scientists are hoping to make us happier people.

The technology, which scans a person’s face as they stand in front of their food treasure trove, detects whether or not they are smiling and, reading anything other than a big, cheesy grin, makes the door difficult to open.

The thinking behind the tormenting device is that people, particularly those who live alone or who have little interaction with other people, often forget to smile. Since smiles produce natural endorphins in our bodies that cheer us up, the more grumpy-faced of us are, allegedly, more likely to feel down in the dumps.

Quoting philosopher and psychologist William James, Sony’s scientists assure us that “We don’t laugh because we’re happy; we’re happy because we laugh”, and that by bringing a few more home-made smiles into our lives, we’ll become happier people.

In principle, this makes sense, and even this sarcastic Brit can appreciate the psychological value of turning up the sides of his mouth from time to time. But the video Sony’s scientists have recently presented in order to show off their technology did little more than creep me out if I’m being honest, especially with that green LED “smile” in the top corner constantly reminding us to smile, regardless of our mood…

The design, which received an award as one of the top 100 new inventions at the Good Design Awards this year, reportedly has a genuine effect on users’ mood, and can be installed in the office or around our homes in an effort to promote an optimistic approach to our daily lives.

Even so, the thought of being reminded by a machine to smile 24/7, or my fridge door being difficult to open because I’m in a bad mood isn’t an especially comfortable one.

Imagine if life were more like this…

▼”I see you brushin’, girl, but I don’t see you smilin’…”

▼”That’s better! Big, manic smiles for all! Happy brushing la-la-la-la-laa!”

▼”No food for you, frowny face!”

▼”Ok, now you can have food!”

Who knows, with one of these little devices installed by the front door, maybe we’d all head out for the day feeling that little bit more optimistic. Goodness knows the 08:30 train heading into Shinjuku every morning could do with a few more rays of sunshine… And as we all know, smiles, like yawns but in a less weird way, are kind of contageous.

But being reminded to smile all day, every day?

Then we might run into problems and see a few smashed “Happiness Counter” units lying around. I mean, there’s nothing people in a bad mood enjoy more being told to cheer up, right…?

Have a good day everyone! And remember, nice big smiles! Nice, big smiles or the machines will get you…

Source: Gigazine