The Computer That Can Hack into Your Emotions
Schoon, Nicholas, The Independent (London, England)
FRUSTRATED? Angry? No one understands you? Never mind, get a computer. Computers are being taught to sense different human emotions.
The work is being done by Dr Rosalind Picard, who runs the world's first research group devoted to enabling computers to detect and respond to human emotions. She and her students have already built a variety of inconspicuous devices for people to wear which collect data on pulse and breathing rate, blood pressure and overall states of arousal - all important cues to our emotional state.
Dr Picard's team, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, has, for instance, built "confusion-sensing glasses". They have detectors which can pick up electrical activity in the eyebrow muscles resulting from the slightest eyebrow-wrinkling, caused when we furrow our brows. Dr Picard told the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting that emotions were fundamental to communication between people and to the way we reason and take decisions. Psychologists have shown that patients lacking emotions are unable to make rational decisions; if we don't feel sadness or frustration how are we to learn from our mistakes? …