Apple has a new feature where your iPhone camera will fake eye contact during FaceTime calls. For a generation that already struggles with eye contact, this post-reality update won’t help.
Apple Faking Eye Contact
When you call someone on FaceTime, you aren’t truly making eye contact — you’re looking at the other person’s eyes, so it might feel as if you are, but the camera is located up high on your phone. With Apple’s iOS 13, however (the iPhone XS and XS Max), eye contact can now be faked.
The new feature in iOS 13’s third developer beta is called FaceTime Attention Correction. This technology will digitally fix the position of your pupils, so when FaceTiming with someone, it will look as if they’re staring straight into your eyes and vice versa. Note: the feature can be turned on and off.
An article from Fast Company says this feature means the post-reality age is officially here. Smartphone cameras often depend on digital fakery, combining photos to make them High-Dynamic-Range (HDR) or blurring a background in Portrait Mode. Essentially, these cameras digitally fake what they’re unable to do in the real world. What this means for FaceTime” when speaking with someone on a video call, your eyes are now displayed in Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Why Does Eye Contact Matter?
Eye contact is vital for many reasons and is used in every area of life — attending job interviews, creating relationships, and handling interactions. Increased eye contact makes you appear confident, skilled, and trustworthy. It shows the person you’re talking to you value what they have to say.
It’s also an essential skill to teach kids. Lack of eye contact (which can cause you to be perceived as rude) is becoming more prevalent. Studies have shown excessive screen time can impede kids from developing nonverbal communication skills. When eye contact on FaceTime is fake, well, what kids have been taught about the importance of eye contact is negated.
“[FaceTime is] a place where even face-to-face conversations with your children are a little bit fake,” the Fast Company article says.
Yes. But it doesn’t have to be. Keep your kids grounded in the real world by teaching them the importance of eye contact and face-to-face interaction. Even better, consider switching off FaceTime Attention Correction.