Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Smile a While

Do you ever wish your phone understood wat you wanted without having to type it out or resorting to voice command?  What if the technology around you could function in a way that reflect your mood and work to improve it?  Rana el Kaliouby, co-founder of a tech start up called Affectiva, has been working to find ways to incorporate emotions into technology.  This technology, called “affective computing,” adds the component of human emotion to computers.

While El Kaliouby sees a variety of ways that this new advance could benefit people, her main goal is to apply the technology to healthcare. Specifically, she thinks that a face recognition and emotion detector could help researchers more accurate feedback regarding clinical trials, so patients do not feel like they need to please the doctor. If they are uncomfortable or feel pain, the software would detect that and an accurate adjustment can be made to the product.

The program is trained to recognize “action units,” or tiny muscle movements happening across the face, twenty times per second. These action units include blinks, winks, lip puckers, inner and outer brow raises, and many more tiny movements.  Affectiva’s program analyzes the movements and categorizes into seven basic emotions happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger, disgust, and contempt.   After analyzing countless videos of facial expressions, the company database has archived over 40 billion “emotion data points.”  Ideally, computers, phones, and even our refrigerators would use this technology to recognize how we are feeling and react accordingly, or at least make a suggestion.


Emotion-processing technology could drastically change the way we use technology, the way we interact with technology, and the way it interacts with us.  Would you want your phone to react to your facial expressions and suggest different ideas of what to do, or would you rather have technology stay out of your feelings and just do as you tell it to?

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/rana-el-kaliouby-ingenuity-awards-technology-180957204/

Erina Taradai (Group 3)

12 comments:

  1. This is a very interesting idea, the fact that technology would be able to act in ways that reflect our moods and feelings. However, I would rather not incorporate this feature into technology, as I believe technology is already incorporated enough into our lives. I believe that people may begin to rely more on this emotion recognizing technology, and because the technology responds back similar to how humans may, people may begin to see this even more as a substitute to other interactions.

    Yustina Kang (Group 2)

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    1. I see what you mean, and I did emphasize phone usage in the post. I do agree that this could inhibit our human interaction even more, however the technology itself could have tremendously positive effects in other facets, such as the healthcare aspect mentioned. The article I pulled this from mentions other uses for the technology, such as helping people analyze themselves while speaking (for example for interviews) and have the program give feedback on what emotions they could be inadvertently conveying.

      Erina Taradai 3

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  2. I think it would be really cool if the technology in my life could detect how I was feeling and react to the mood that I'm in. The only issue I think that would arise is how does your phone know what you are feeling by a facial expression? Do you have to program that expression, for example, would you have to make a sad face if you're feeling depressed to program it, and then make that exact face for the phone to recognize that you are feeling sad? Therefore the phone wouldn't actually detect what you are feeling but you are telling the phone how you are feeling.

    Caitlyn Cordaro (1)

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    1. I think you bring up a good point. The article explains more in depth about the program, and I think that the program is meant to function on the basis that you are in fact exhibiting some sort of expression on your face. However you make a good point, we usually don't make dramatic facial expressions at our phone. Based on the article I think the program is specifically programmed to detect the slightest muscle movements, so even if you haven't actively smiled, it could pick up a minuscule movement on the side of your mouth that could just be your immediate reaction to something positive (or whatever emotion was expressed.)

      Erina Taradai 3

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  3. Another thing that has to do with this that I learned recently has to do with how other people perceive us, no just a machine, based on our facial movements. The example I learned was through analyzing how Ted Cruz smiles. The way he smiles is not a natural way and so people off the bat perceive him with mistrust. It's really cool how many things facial expressions and muscle movements can tell us.

    commented by Nick Michienzi

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  4. This sounds like an interesting idea and it could definitely have some useful applications in the medical field but I'm not sure how well some people would respond to their everyday devices and appliances monitoring them due to privacy concerns. I assume this would work with the device taking some sort of video recording of you to be able to analyze your facial expressions or even posture and people might be wary as to whether or not the video or information gathered is going to remain private or not.

    Cole DiStasio (group 1)

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  5. A super cool idea, could be extremely helpful in the medical field or when dealing with kids or even babies and figuring out what they could want or whats wrong when they're upset. I think having technology react with us is a really interesting thought, I'd be interested in seeing how well it works and how it interacts with us.
    -Kelsey Morrison (group 2)

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  7. This type of technology is really interesting, I'm more interested where all of these data's that is being collecting are going. With this type of technology the government would have ever details on the persons face who uses this.

    David (2)

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  8. This is some cutting edge technology, but I don't know how I feel about a piece technology interpreting my emotions. I don't know how accurate this may be. I feel as though the action units aren't honest indicators of what people are thinking. On the other hand, I can see this technology working too well and becoming a privacy concern. I look forward to hearing more from this company.

    -Mahder Haile (1)

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  9. Technology is becoming more innovative and time conserving as time progress. I am interested in finding out the extremety of this particular form of technology if there is a glitch in the system. What if it sent individuals the wrong message or emotion? I also think that immediate emotional responses should not be sent out- many times your facial expression can misinterpret your inner emotions. I think that this form of technology would definitely cause a lot of chaos as well as restrict us from our freedom of expression.

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  10. It scares me how advance and farfetched technology is getting now. Apps such as snapchat and Instagram have facial recognition, and we do not know to what extent these facial recognitions go. Like for all I know, it can replace the finger i.d. system.

    -Soffie Jobarteh

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