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Say Hello to Machines That Read Your Emotions to Make You Happy


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A new device can detect a person's mood.

The EmoSPARK artificial intelligence-based device can determine a person's mood.

Credit: Betsie Van Der Meer/Getty

EmoSPARK is an artificial intelligence-based (AI) device that can gauge a person's mood based on what they say and how they say it.

The device's brain consists of a 90-millimeter Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-enabled cube. It senses its world through an Internet connection, a microphone, a webcam, and the owner's smartphone. The cube is programmed to use these technologies to help make the owner happy, for example by responding to commands to play a song in a digital library, making posts on Facebook, checking friends' updates, streaming a Netflix film, answering questions by tapping information from Wikipedia, and making conversation.  

EmoSPARK's creators, Brian Fitzpatrick and Patrick Levy Rosenthal, say the device is dedicated to the owner's happiness. To fulfill that, it attempts to take the owner's emotional pulse, adapt its personality to them, and always attempt to understand what makes the owner happy and unhappy.  

The drive to give AI an emotional dimension is a result of necessity, says Rana el Kaliouby, founder of Affectiva, which creates emotion-sensing algorithms. She notes as devices ranging from phones to refrigerators increasingly get connected to the Internet, people are seeking ways to impart a human aspect to machine logic.

From New Scientist
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