This Smart Toilet Features Personal Butthole Recognition

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Sometimes you write a headline and just stare at it, wondering what it says about you, your priorities, and your place in the universe. Sometimes the desire to inform people about the world they live in runs headlong into real questions about the acceptable limits of knowledge.

This is one of those times. I find myself wondering whether ’tis nobler to cloak the discoveries of madcap scientists with euphemistic language and imprecise phrasing, or I should take the bit between my teeth and make a full entry in the Captain’s Log, as it were. I invariably opt for the latter, which probably says something about me.

Okay. Here goes. Scientists at Stanford designed a smart toilet that can analyze both feces and urine in various ways, including checking for telltale signs of certain intestinal problems. While I cannot precisely articulate the various parasites, conditions, cancers, blockages, or extremely unwise bedroom activities that can be diagnosed by a scatological analysis, PCMag notes they can “identify signs for various cancers as well as gut disorders and liver diseases.”

My brain, going into lockdown mode to prevent a Google Search.

But this is no ordinary porcelain descendant of Thomas Crapper’s wizardry. This is a smart toilet. With cameras! They’re for taking pictures of the contents of your toilet “which will then be uploaded to your health provider’s secure cloud storage for analysis.”

Daniel Jackson disapproves. Image from Stargate SG-1, by MGM

Do not mistake me. I am aware that it is important to have such analysis performed betimes and that being aware of one’s bodily functions is an important part of physical health. It is important to be aware of changes to one’s gut, bladder, or kidney behavior, and monitoring effluvia is one way adults do that. It’s not fun. It’s just life.

But notwithstanding this objective fact, the phrase “which will then be uploaded to your health provider’s secure cloud storage for analysis” fills me with a horror I can scarcely describe.

Why Is There A(n) Anus Camera Sphincter Scanner?

Because researchers want it to be capable of differentiating between users, and they decided you couldn’t always trust that the person who flushed the toilet would be the same person who used it. So the scientists in question decided to create a stoolproof method of detecting even the stealthiest deuce dropper.

And the show has reached a new low. Image by Saturday Night Live.

They call it an analprint. If that hurts you to read, I want you to know it hurt me just as much to write. There’s a pandemic ravaging the planet, everything is on fire, and I am burdened with the knowledge that this exists. My fiancée has wedged herself into the furthest corner of her desk and is staring at her monitor in mute horror. Christmas is canceled. Sex is canceled. I’m probably canceled. So it’s not just you. I want to die. But I’m not going to die. I’m going to write about tech news, even if it’s shitty.

“We know it seems weird, but as it turns out, your anal print is unique,” senior author, professor of radiology, and plumber of the depths of sanity Sanjiv Gambhir told Stanford Medicine.

There’s no word yet on whether healthcare providers plan to bring this product to market, or what it would cost. Out of 330 people surveyed by the Stanford team, 37 percent of respondents indicated they were “somewhat comfortable” with the idea of it. This raises obvious questions about the nature of the test question. For example: “Would you feel safe using a toilet that could analyze your feces and urine to detect if you had cancer?” scans very differently than “Would you buy a toilet that sent your doctor a video of your butthole every time you take a dump?” I’m not saying that the second question is better than the first, but I think it gets a bit closer to capturing the essence of what is happening in this process.

I’m not sure it’s possible to make an “Internet of Shit” joke after this. This is literally an internet-connected device you shit into.

I’m sorry, folks. I don’t know where we go from here.

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