- The Washington Times - Friday, January 11, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

LAS VEGAS — If CES 2019 tells anything, it’s a story of how technology is moving into every aspect of human life, from driving to securing home and possessions to parenting to — brushing teeth.

Some of the artificial intelligence serves as an apt demonstration of overkill.

Oral-B Genius X falls into that gray area between “what a great idea” and “too lazy to even brush my own teeth.”

Procter & Gamble is one of America’s oldest companies — it’s been around 182 years — but it’s never been to CES to showcase a product. Until now. The company made a tech show splash with its versions of technologically driven toothbrushes, razors and skin sensors, all aimed at enhancing the personal bath-beauty experience.

The company’s Olay Skin Advisor uses roughly 50,000 algorithms to analyze smartphone selfies and determine the condition of the facial skin — with such accuracy that it can even pinpoint age.

Its Gillette self-heating razor shuts off when the blade becomes too hot.

And the P&G Oral-B Genius X is the A.I.-fueled toothbrush that taps into the tons of data that went into its development to determine where users go wrong — where they brush too hard, where they brush too lightly, where they need to reach for better plaque removal.

The toothbrush actually gives users personal guidance about cavities-in-coming.

P&G isn’t the only company pushing the toothbrush tech. Philips showcased a similar smart brush — as well as a concept smart mirror that allows users to see in real time, and right in front of their faces, all the guidance the toothbrush is offering. And Kolibree, also at CES, actually makes brushing into a game with a Magik smart brush that has kids fighting off an evil monster as they clean their teeth.

It’s one thing to help with the whole dental hygiene thing. But with technology, how much is too much?

A smart toothbrush might run upwards of $100. But just a few dollars will get you a pack of plaque disclosing tablets that turn the parts of your mouth red that need extra brushing. And seriously — today’s kids can’t even go the two minutes it takes to properly brush without setting aside the video games?

Technology’s great — not to mention here to stay.

But sometimes humans simply don’t need technology to tell them how to do the simpler things in life.

Toothbrushing may not fall into that category. But then again, it just might.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.


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