Ebenezer Scrooge learned the folly of his ways—or was it Ebenezer Snoop?—when the Ghost of Christmas Future showed him his eventual self. Now, just in time for the holidays, Bank of America’s Merrill Edge is offering the rest of us a similar opportunity.
However, where Ebenezer’s ghost wanted to demonstrate that an obsession with money wouldn’t lead to happiness, this new app’s purpose is to remind you that, actually, you better sort out your finances, because old age is coming for you.
Merrill Edge (Merrill Lynch’s online discount unit) just unveiled a digital experience called Face Retirement, which does exactly as its title promises. Much like last summer’s old-timey Mugshot Yourself app, the site’s camera functionality records and scans your face. When it’s finished processing, Face Retirement reveals a composite photo of how your face will look in the near and far future—so you can see how the ravages of time will affect your jawline incrementally. The tech, powered by ModiFace, reveals wrinkles, spots, saggy flesh, and basically all your worst nightmares about mortality.
As Wired has pointed out, the experience is based on a study conducted in 2011, revealing that most of us are less inclined to save for retirement because our eventual, gray selves are unknowable strangers. The study showed test subjects a computer-generated vision of themselves at retirement age and apparently scared the Dickens into them. After seeing how they would look as potential great-grandparents, test subjects were newly amenable to saving more.
If the visual information wasn’t hard enough to process already, Face Retirement also has some economic bombshells up its sleeve. Each decade-jumping image is accompanied by a statistic about what the price of gas, milk, and monthly utilities may be up to by the time you’re that age. It’s enough to make one consider getting their affairs in order, before the inexorable march of time moves onward.