2019 is just shy of its fifth month and we’ve already seen a number of viral trends hit the social platforms, such as the 10 Year Challenge which spread right out of the gate. It’s trending under a few titles including the Glow Up Challenge or How Hard Did Ageing Hit Us? Challenge but operates under one premise – a simple before versus after image, 2009 versus 2019.
Initially kicking off on Twitter, the 10 Year Challenge quickly moved on to Facebook and Instagram becoming a trend onto which everyone and their Uncle hopped on. It’s a blast and a great nod to how social media has become an online album and diary of memories that may have been long forgotten. However, underneath the fun and nostalgia may lie something sinister.
During the dawn of the challenge, digital strategist Kate O’Neill posted a thought-provoking tweet.
Me 10 years ago: probably would have played along with the profile picture aging meme going around on Facebook and Instagram
Me now: ponders how all this data could be mined to train facial recognition algorithms on age progression and age recognition
I’d like to laugh and brush it off, but in a day and age where cybersecurity risks run rampant and data leaks are looking to become a norm, one wonders. Are we being 1984ed?
O’Neill fleshed out her epiphany further in a Wired article. She conceded that these images are already online, but consider how much easier it would be for an algorithm to work its magic if people willingly posted their images side by side along with accurate time stamping it as well. We’re effectively cutting through the useless noise.
“Is it bad that someone could use your Facebook photos to train a facial recognition algorithm? Not necessarily; in a way, it’s inevitable. Still, the broader takeaway here is that we need to approach our interactions with technology mindful of the data we generate and how it can be used at scale,” wrote O’Neill.
She went on to list three possible uses: it could help with identifying long-term missing persons, it could be used in targeted advertising before long, and, there’s potential for it to be used in determining your insurance worth by tracking your progression.
That being said, as with any viral internet trend, a playful side to the 10 Year Challenge has emerged. After all, is an online trend really a trend if it hasn’t inspired memes? Here are my picks of 11 of the funniest mock-ups of the 10 Year Challenge:
1. A true reflection of self
Once an adorable piece of shit, always an adorable piece of shit.
2. Declining vision
Is it because I’ve been reading in the dark or because I’m lacking the 2020 vision here?
3. More emojis please!
One of the most important advances of our time – tools to express ourselves more effectively with fewer words.
4. When will the traffic end
We all know of that one congested spot in our city where a minute seems like a year.
Gravity and age will leave nothing behind, but boobs are boobs and look great in all shapes and sizes. 😉
That 1 percent drop is simply because the owner was playing Snakes daily the entire decade.
7. Seattle Grace Hospital of Short–lived Careers
Honestly, I haven’t been the same since George’s death. Maybe the docs ought to consider working at a hospital that doesn’t fall under attack every other season?
8. Spot the difference
Less hilarious, more somber. This one is an ode to better times past, relatively speaking.
I blame the pop culture trend for not pandering to unrealistic happy endings anymore. And George R.R. Martin.
Check back in another decade to finally browse the net. And click on the link above for the right ambience for this point.
11. RIP my emotional state
This is my spirit animal now as I traverse through young adulthood. Or how I look on the outside versus the inside.
Well, in case we’re feeding data into a secretive algorithm via the 10 Year Challenge, let’s hope these bombass memes do a good job of making Big Brother’s job harder while making our lives funner.