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Soon, Amazon customers may be able to pay for items by taking selfies

As reported by AJ Dellinger in The Daily Dot, online retailer Amazon may be about to unleash one of the greatest, most necessary advancements in technology the world has seen in years: payment by selfie. That’s right. Amazon customers will theoretically be able to pay for their purchases by snapping pictures of themselves. It’s such a perfect marriage of soulless narcissism and mindless acquisition that it’s hard to believe it doesn’t exist already. But it’s apparently so innovative that Amazon is filing for a patent for the invention, which it calls Image Analysis For User Authentication. The abstract on the October 2015 patent application makes this sound plausible, even respectable and sensible:

A transaction is authorized using an authentication process that prompts the user to perform an action in view of a camera or sensor. The process identifies the user and verifies that the user requesting the transaction is a living human being. The user is identified using image information which is processed utilizing facial recognition. The device verifies that the image information corresponds to a living human using one or more human-verification processes. The device prompts the user to perform an action to confirm the transaction, and causes the transaction to be performed after verifying performance of the action by the identified user.


As The Daily Dot points out, this idea is not entirely without precedent. MasterCard implemented something similar in February, allowing users to make purchases with selfies or fingerprints. But Amazon must still feel its version is unique enough to warrant a patent application of its own. Should this idea ever be implemented, Amazon users who want to get really meta with it could theoretically use this payment system to purchase any number of selfie sticks, as well as Selfish, Kim Kardashian’s best-selling 2015 book of selfies. Those more interested in music, on the other hand, could use their selfies to purchase the 2014 song “#SELFIE” by The Chainsmokers.

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