What if a computer could recognise your facial expression and react to how your feel? An app that knows how you feel from the look on your face?

I have embraced the Digital Age and enjoy all the wonders that it brings but surely letting computers read our emotions is going one step too far?

Rana el Laiouby found that she was spending more hours with her laptop and devices than she was with any other human but the computer did not know how she was feelings.

Her computer didn’ t know if she was happy, sad, angry, frustrated.

She felt that her emotions disappeared into cyberspace and all she had to communicate these emotions was emoticons at the end of a text message.

Our computers have no emotional intelligent, they are afterall a machine reliant upon a human to put the information into them so why would they need to have emotional intelligence?

But Rana el Laiouby asked What if our devices could sense how we feel just like a friends would?

This started her on a path to see if they could get the computer to recognise the human face.

The human face is at the heart of all our communication.

With our face we show happiness, joy, surprise just by changing subtle muscles and shapes of our face.

Her emotions app studied each facial expression for the way that the muscles move in a specific way to form a new emotion she called these ‘action units’ .

Each action unit is put together to mean a different emotion.

She and her team developed technology for the emotions app so that the computer will be able to decipher all the different action units and to work out your emotion.

The computer using this emotions app can work out how you are feeling.

Watch this short video as she tries out this new emotions app to find out the emotions of a member of the audience.

Can we quantify our feelings into Emotion Data Points?

Can we really quantify something as personal as our emotions?

When observing the general population, they found that we are expressive when we are on our devices, when we are texting, emailing or watching You Tube.

I have to back this up as my daughter is often texting with a huge smile or when she receives a message you tell when it is from someone she likes — so I get this.

But why would we want computers to know how we are feeling?

One way this technology could be used is for those on the Autistic Spectrum a key feature is that they struggle to read social signals and understand emotion.

So I can see that his could help them in understanding what feeling someone else it showing towards them so they know how to react.

With the speed that the digital age is moving, it is not far-fetched to think that our devices could in five years’ time have an emotions chip.

What will this mean for us as we move into the next phase.

Will we lose the ability to tell how others are feeling?

Just as we have lost the art of speaking to each other except via text of Facebook, picking up a book, writing with a pen or remembering our dairy schedule without our devices.

The essential sense of touch and feel are key components of our society.

Will we have to wait for our computer to tell us how we are feeling?

Will we fail to recognise when our friend is sad or unhappy with out the aid of our device?

Is this a step forward with technology or a step backward in pursuit of the digital life?

It seems that instead of curbing our devices usage we have moved towards humanising technology and how we connect with machines.

But what does this mean for our connections with other human beings?

Essentially, we tell other humans beings how we are feeling at any given point in time.

And for good reason.

We are social creatures who naturally take comfort, love, joy and support our fellow beings.

So it is important that we show appreciation or upset at the appropriate time.

This concept of the computer recognising our emotions leaves me wondering – WHY?

It’ s not going to reach out and give me a hug if I am feeling sad?

It’ s not going to comfort me when I am upset?

It’ s not going to calm me down when I am feeling mad?

Changing lives and the way we live in the digital world with the emotions app — what next?

Let’ s spread the word about the digital world

The Digital mum sig





Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Emotiguy With Stop Sign Stock Photo

Photo by farconville. Published on 16 September 2011
Stock photo – Image ID: 10057663