Technology is getting emotional, thankfully not in a stroppy or petulant way.
It is not so much about computers expressing emotions, rather becoming more attuned to our own emotional states.
The Q sensor is one device that can monitor emotions and stress levels. An interesting application is in autism where it has been able to monitor stress levels, that are not discernible from the child’s expressions or body language.
The child can appear to have a very sudden ‘meltdown’ where in reality the sensor shows a gradual build up of stress and frustration, culminating in a sudden emotional crunch point.
Smart cameras that recognise emotions via facial expressions have also been used in autism, in this case predicting other people’s emotions. Autistic children, often unable to discern moods and expressions of others, are given feedback from the device, helping them be more sensitive to other people’s emotions.
These emergent devices have also been used in market research, e.g. assessing the impact of advertising. Rather than gain participant feedback solely via questions and self reported feedback, a much richer and authentic picture can be gathered via biosensors and cameras that track facial expressions and emotional response.
These devices have been proven to work effectively in the research stage, yet are still costly.
It won’t be long before they become mainstream and we are all using these devices.
Consider a specific medical example where a doctor is interacting online with promotional or educational content from a pharma company.
The content should already be tailored to that doctor’s specific needs and situation. The beauty of this technology is that it can add another communication layer, tailoring the content to the doctor’s mood and needs at a specific moment in time.
A doctor who normally loves rich data and detail, but who is busy and tired will automatically be provided a shorter summary. A doctor who becomes distracted could be quickly re engaged with a timely question or request to input some information, or being served up some compelling and entertaining content.
Scary? Intrusive? Well who would have thought we would be where we are now, the privacy we have been prepared to trade for various online benefits.
The possibilities are immense for marketing across all sectors.
And it wont be long before our computers have more emotional intelligence than the average medical sales rep. (Although some may say that day arrived long ago)