I love HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. His calm computer voice, ability to understand humans, total control of the ship. Well I loved him until he tried to kill everyone anyway. After all we can’t let these computers get too smart. Which leads me to wonder – when will smartphones become too smart?
Researchers at Rochester University are conducting experiments to determine if a phone may be able to someday determine our emotions. Face it, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand when people are happy or sad simply based on their voice. By measuring and analyzing 12 different features of speech like pitch and volume, their prototype program was able to accurately identify 1 of 6 emotions 81% of the time. The more complex the analysis gets perhaps the more emotions a device could detect. So where could this come in handy? For one in the world of psychology, where interactions are constantly analyzed. But maybe someday your boss will be able to understand that what he perceives as happy the rest of the world perceives as grouchy. Or maybe you will be able to remind your spouse that their expression of excitement is undetectable to others. Wendi Heinzelman, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Rochester University admits the project is in its early stages. But some day an app may be able to identify moods that we do or do not perceive.