Teaching Computers to Hear Emotions
January 8, 2013 4:52 PM   Subscribe

The dystopian possibilities here are tremendous. A road rage detector that disables your car. Apathy detector that signs you up for marriage counseling. Affect tracking with automatic real time prescription filing.

It would be kind of cool to have a box that I could only open if I was sufficiently happy (angry, disgusted...). Then I could put some prize or trinket in there which I should only access at that special time. The possibilities are very interesting.
posted by idiopath at 5:09 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

So that's at least 50% better than Sheldon Cooper can do.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:11 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

... The possibilities are very interesting.
Definitely. When the interviewer mentioned it could help actors practice their craft in the future, I thought that was a pretty excellent idea itself.
posted by Evernix at 5:17 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Let the autism jokes begin!
posted by mediocre at 5:19 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

I don't even think I have 5 different emotions. Unless we are going by differing levels of rage.

posted by elizardbits at 5:27 PM on January 8, 2013 [10 favorites]

> The dystopian possibilities here are tremendous.

Much as I like the idea of a suddenly accelerated future, I find it hard to maintain the fantasy every since I found out that—let alone any fancy dazzle camo makeup—you can fool face trackers by slightly tilting your head.
posted by lucidium at 5:59 PM on January 8, 2013

So, now Siri will know when I get pissed at her?
posted by HuronBob at 6:38 PM on January 8, 2013

The real test is if it can sort out what is going on when my wife says "fine".
posted by srboisvert at 6:40 PM on January 8, 2013 [9 favorites]

Hint: it's not fine
posted by flaterik at 6:51 PM on January 8, 2013

STAB AND SQUEE vs Guy's American Kitchen & Bar

Ensure the next NYC meetup is an event nobody will ever forget.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:25 PM on January 8, 2013

Having a computer tell me it knows I'm apathetic would make me sad.
posted by mrgoat at 7:33 PM on January 8, 2013

I want a computer I can troll.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:37 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Eric will confound it!
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:11 PM on January 8, 2013

the emotions were anger, sadness, disgust, then there was a neutral state, happiness, and fear.

It pisses me off and makes me very disappointed that these morons can't tell the difference between five emotions and six, though I do understand that the neutral state might not really need to be considered an emotion and it's more a matter of choice on the part of the researcher, which shouldn't affect what seem to be very positive results that are a great step forward in a very welcome understanding of the delicate complexity of human emotions, an understanding that will only lead all of us to subjugation by psychologist overlords.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:49 PM on January 8, 2013

Most of the time I would prefer that the world ignore my emotions. Professionally neutral modes are best. When I'm in environments where I sense other's emotions and they sense mine, some really vicious feedback loops can happen with frightening speed. Emotions are interesting and important but they're also often like the weather and shouldn't matter as much as so many of us let them.

So other than some kind of anxiety -soothing app thingy I don't think I want my devices or appliances "reading " my mood before deciding how to handle my requests.
posted by yesster at 10:09 PM on January 8, 2013

According to Humintell, there are seven basic emotions - Anger, Fear, Disgust, Contempt, Joy, Sadness, Surprise - and these are correlated with specific facial expressions.

I've incorporated this understanding into my regimen of physical fitness. Each morning when I rise, I do my usual routine of sit-ups and pull-ups, followed by a healthy series of laps back and forth across the swimming pool. Some squat thrusts, four or five lunges, and precisely 122 jumping jacks... and then I am ready for my new routine.

Usually I begin with Anger, scrunching up my facial muscles into a tight formation, arching my eyebrows, piercing my gaze. I find this warms up the facial muscles and gets them ready for the exercises to come. Next I do several repetitions of Disgust, then a dozen repetitions of Joy, to stretch out those muscles. When my face is fully warmed up, I do long slow movements of Contempt, Suprise, and Disgust, followed by a cooling off period of Sadness.

It's good exercise for the face, but everybody else at the gym thinks I'm crazy.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:41 PM on January 8, 2013 [5 favorites]

So you know those automatic revolving doors? The ones with the recorded voice that says "please step forward" if you walk too slow?

The other day I was in one that then also said "thank you" when I sped up again.

And then because I'm a good socially awkward Midwesterner I spent the rest of my revolution through the thing wondering whether I was supposed to say "you're welcome" or not.

So basically tl;dr: now there are doors that give me social anxiety. This future shit is already weird enough thanks.
posted by and so but then, we at 11:18 PM on January 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Worst pub ever.

However, it's worth it for the sign: a kitten holding a knife.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:31 AM on January 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

Some of the research was done during a summer internship at Microsoft Research

ObClippy: "It sounds like you're angry. Do you need help?"
posted by deo rei at 2:03 AM on January 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

This will be handy when I have to deal with voice-only navigation... all of those electronics killing themselves out of fear of my ANGRY VOICE.


*shower of sparks*
posted by lineofsight at 5:11 AM on January 9, 2013

Seems like a way to reify particular behaviours as reflecting particular emotion states, contributing to a greater level of stasis in our cultural-emotional registers.

It also seems likely to further the notion that rationality and emotions are totally distinct. I'd bet that they say the 'neutral state' is 'unemotional' or 'calm'.
posted by knapah at 6:35 AM on January 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

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