An App that Knows How You Feel

I recently watched yet another fascinating Ted Talk. It was about an app that measures your facial expressions to determine how you feel. Watch it below.

If this technology is successful, the number of applications for it will be enormous. Rana touched on just a few examples.

What might be some of it’s long term effects on our society? What happens when we have Google Analytics for your emotions?  You face a video camera every time you look at your smart phone. And if you work at a computer for extended periods of time, chances are you’re facing a video camera for hours a day. That’s a lot of potential data. With mounds of data, there is the potential to vastly improve our lives.

Let’s assume that happy people are more productive and beneficial to society, government and corporations. We might see the use of our emotion data to improve the quality of our lives.  The media that we consume will react to our reactions to it. Over time it might become very efficient at making us feel the way it wants us to feel. Hopefully, it will be a positive emotion.

The mental health field might be able to help many more people with this data. What if individuals with certain conditions, depression to schizophrenia, exhibit patterns of facial motions?  Programs and apps might be able to pick up on those patterns. Potential patients could be somehow connected to a mental health professional.

Imagine existing security, street or other types of video cameras monitoring our emotions via our faces. If this technology turns out to be reliable, there will be an incentive to have as many cameras as possible to monitor as many faces as possible.  More cameras in public and more cameras integrated in to your appliances. What happens when parents or loved ones can get an automatic text alert, Facebook post, Tweet…. when you are feeling depressed?  Might we all start paying more attention to the emotional state of the people in our lives?

Grandpa This Should Cheer You Up

Grandpa This Should Cheer You Up

There will be data on the happiness of nations. We’ll know what country has the happiest citizens. Maybe this is how we move toward measuring the success of a society using multiple types of metrics, not just economic ones such as GNP (Gross National Product).

If laws do not keep up with this technology it may quickly be assimilated into all our devices. Our consent will be in some agreement we check off, never having read the whole thing. Big data firms will crunch numbers and compare what they know about us now to the patters of facial expressions we exhibit in a myriad of situations. The conclusions they reach could revolutionize areas such as marketing, entertainment and health care.

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121 thoughts on “An App that Knows How You Feel

  1. Jasmine2015

    I think this app has potential in the mental health field. In what way will other companies benefit from it? Will they use it to their advantage and start sending me ads the instant I show a happy face over a product I like?

    1. sazzydan2

      Great looking app. I think this could be adapted over time to become really fun to use! I think Jasmine has a very valid point about the good reactions to a product, because companies would see this as a great light to try and sell you things. Done in the right way, this could be excellent!

      1. joshc428

        There’s no doubt that corporations will find some way to take this piece of technology and advance it for their own benefit. I believe that data collection should be limited to official organizations who try to build a database of emotions but refuse to sell such information to private corporations. I’d hate to have ad companies know that I smiled at a cute ad that they ran, leading them to push the product onto me.

    2. KimberlyD

      Well she did say there are going to be abuses of the technology. I think it is an interesting concept. If this technology could help others to live better productive lives then it would be a great invention. It is true that the digital age has erased emotions from peoples lives to a large degree. We spend excessive amounts of time staring at emotionless screens and do not interact with very many others on a emotional level. Adding a feature to technology that recognizes and responses to your emotional expressions would be a health addition to our lives.

    3. ScooterBrandon

      HUGE applications for mental health.
      My organization spends thousands of dollars on mental health awareness and training. Imagining a system in place that can alert humans to potential mental health concerns ahead of time via factorial scanning? That’s a game changer.

      1. xnon

        That’s a bit of a Big Brother type move though no? It would require the staff within your organization to submit to periodic facial scans to determine their mental state. I mean, if it could be made to be extremely unintrusive, it miiiight slide, but realistically I think a lot of people would be up in arms over the blatant invasion of privacy.

      2. bbatv

        I totally agree, mentally ill people aren’t always likely to notify doctors as they start feeling symptoms but with this app those people could get appointments booked much earlier. This would mean patients getting better quicker too. This makes me so excited!

        1. ellyjude

          I am equally exited about this application. I now see where this world is heading to. I however think that it will take a while before this application reaches mental hospitals in third world countries.

    4. GlacialDoom

      I believe that huge companies, especially the ones which have thousands of employees standing in front of a computer will be able to use this technology in order to determine if someone is sad. Happiness greatly raises productivity, so I’d assume that the companies using this tech could have a way of cheering up sad employees.

      For example, if an employee is sad several days in a row, he could get a small vacation. Or if someone who is usually happy is suddenly depressed, someone could head over and see what’s wrong. Of course, this system could be abused by employees to get out of doing work, but I’m sure there would be a way to prevent that from happening.

      1. Jasmine2015

        I have heard that Google offers plenty of cool things for their employees. And if you are on maternity leave, they would have you covered. This app also reminded me of mood rings we used to get as kids.

        1. KCDavis

          That’s what I was just thinking. This is just like the mood rings, but on a higher level. I don’t believe that a computer can tell me how I’m feeling before I know what I’m feeling. And I wouldn’t want a computer trying to tell me what I need to do to be a happier person. I am one of those people that feel this would be a invasion of my privacy. It would allow our employers and government to bud into our personal lives. I for one am not happy with that idea.

    5. suegiplaye

      This app looks really cool! Mental health is a topic that many choose to ignore. It can be a way for a person to recognize there emotions without talking to a therapist. It can even move them to go see a therapist.If marketed in the right way, this app can make a lot of money. I know a lot of people struggle with issues. Great idea!

    6. Ctech8

      I’ve heard about this app. It sounds like it knows a little to much. Unless this can help you with depression, I’m wondering what use it has. Of course this is an amazing advancement in technology. I wonder what this app is really going to be used for.

      1. Potatoman

        I agree with everything you’ve said except for it helping depression. Facial expression really does not nor can not show depression. However I’m struggling to think of a use for it besides the fact that it’s kind of cool.

      1. danielledavidson

        I have to agree that this might lead to some of the wrong diagnoses. I mean things like this are not always accurate. I mean I think that it would be something that is cool. That way you will know how you are feeling. And like she said if your car knew you were tried, and if the fridge knew you were stressed. And if they could do something about that. I mean I think that would be a good thing then.

    7. Juortega

      I agree this app can be used as a data retrieving instrument as well as a measuring instrument to better patient care. Retrieving emotional mood extremes analytically helping in identifying traumas and/or mental conditions. Such a app is possible in coding and logistics of today’s modern devices. As to how the app is utilized and its negative or positive implications to the common people consumers must be checked and or regulated.

    8. rhauze

      Call me a cynic, but I’m seeing this doing more harm than good. Firstly, technology often gets unveiled before it’s really ready (just look at when Windows 8 first came out.) What if an app thinks you’re crying when you’re actually laughing? Also, something just feels intrusive about a computer monitoring my facial expressions and reporting them. Like someone else said, very Big Brother-esque.

    9. andrewmeintzer

      This is a fascinating new tool, and it seems like it could have a lot of positive benefits. It’s one of many ways that technology is increasingly amplifying our interpersonal connections. This trend will definitely continue, and perhaps it will contribute to us socially evolving as a species, for the better.
      On the other hand, this app could potentially be used for negative pursuits as well, or at least dangerous ones. Who’s to say this type of technology won’t be added to security cameras? Law enforcement and other authorities could monitor our emotions. It may cause them to act preemptively if they see worrisome expressions on someone who they think is about to commit a crime. Then we could have a Minority Report situation on our hands. This sort of development certainly isn’t guaranteed to happen, but it is possible.
      Either way, this type of technology is another way that our devices our invading our privacy, but with this one, it’s for the better so far. As with most similar technological developments, this may become a quite useful and appreciated tool. Hopefully we will adapt accordingly, and improve our social connections, in spite of the fact that there will probably be people who abuse this technology, to the detriment of others.

    10. adees26

      Yes, this app does have potential. The only problem is the potential of having ads sent to you because of your emotions. It seems like anything that is commercialized it always deals with ads and money. So I believe as well that the only benefiting groups would be a mental health organization. It could also help with people that have trouble reading emotions but I guess that ties in with the mental health organizations.

    11. Juortega

      Some legitimate concerns here, seeing that such a thing would be ideal for that type of usage. Especially, with advertisers nowadays really trying to bombard everyone as much as possible with images. Understandably so because it is possible and attainable for organizations willing to do so.

    12. Tipes99

      I agree with you in its potential in mental health field. I however I’m looking forward to its use in Psychotic or Forensic field. If, it truly can tell how human is feeling I think it would be really interesting to see how psychopath feels about certain things or people. I’m sure many companies will get a huge batch of cash for it, but who is going to be giving them the money? Us obvious or the many other consumer who falls pray to them.

    13. ellyjude

      I totally support jasmine in this. This application best suits the mental health field. I’ll also be waiting for the advertisements and show my sincere facial expression towards a particular product. I think by doing that i would have used the application to their advantage.

    14. SFOMH88

      Good thinking, unfortunately it seems that this type of technology would be used mostly for collecting data for something less noble, like for advertising or surveys. It’s a an unnerving prospect to think companies in the future will know everything about you, including how you feel!

  2. cpg224

    Wow this is incredible! Technology is developing and growing so rapidly! There is so much we can do with technology. It seems that the possibilities are endless and its world is so vast! I’m am amazed at what I am witnessing! I want to try it out for myself.

    1. adees26

      Technology has come a long way. There is always something that gets me when technology “advances”. It is that is it really good or is it bad. Just like they are good and bad people in this world. Knowing that a piece of technology can be bad turns me off on the whole situation. I guess one has to take a leap of faith and just try. Like the old saying goes, people are stupid but a person is smart.

      1. Juortega

        Have to agree, feeling where you coming from on your thoughts. The app could also affect a select group negatively for perhaps blunt upsetting results. People tend to be different and respond differently. All the data, updates, and evolving capabilities of the code indeed intriguing.

  3. wameyo

    I can envision that app being used by organizations to gauge how their employees feel. Interesting. Happy employees will mean that the company is on track as regards employee satisfaction. Unhappy employees? Could it be the time to increase their salaries? Promote them?

    1. KimberlyD

      I agree with you on that. That would be a great way to understand their employees and to find ways to improve their work experience. A happy employee is a good employee I always say. Many companies do what they can to make their employees work experience a positive one and I think an application like this could help them with that.

    2. adees26

      Employers could use this app as a determining factor on how the company is doing. But I would not count on it with accuracy. You have to think sometimes someone’s job is not the thing that is making them unhappy. Sometimes it is something outside of work. So it would be a hard factor to use. They could use it to determine someone’s emotions when they offer them a project to complete. That may be a little more accurate.

  4. phoenix15

    Wow, talk about a brave new world! This reminds me a bit of the movie “She,” where Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his AI Operating System.

    Imagine this technology being used in preliminary job interviews over skype, where this technology combined with special algorithms tell the HR department if you have a history of, or potential for, mental illness, addictive behaviors, or even if you are stretching the truth a little. Would this encourage people to get really good at being deceptive? Imagine the gurus that would pop up to teach us how to deceive the machine!! A science fiction author could have a field day with this!

    But even more interesting, this could become disastrous if the technology doesn’t get things right all of the time (my voice recognition on my phone spits out some pretty off-the-wall stuff most of the time.) Imagine the headaches this would cause people’s lives, and the possible litigation that would ensue.

    1. KimberlyD

      For a while, most likely, the technology will have its bugs. Over time though it will improve. By the time the world takes the technology seriously and it becomes a part of the whole digital experience, they should have ironed out the wrinkles in the system.

      1. GenevB

        However, every technology can be wrong, apps like this won’t ever be perfect because humans won’t. There are people with poker faces so good that no technology ever will read anything on their faces.

    2. appdata

      Isn’t usage of an app like this in the employment space a huge invasion of privacy? A few years ago, in a national newspaper in New Zealand, there was a large argument about whether it was ethical for potential employers to ask potential employees’ Facebook passwords in order to determine their suitability for positions. Of course, they said it was optional, but people desperate for a job would give out their passwords.

      This application that reads emotions is a breach of our privacy just like that. You would never give your mental health record to a potential employer, so why should they be allowed to ‘read’ it on your face? Honestly, that would be a benefit for the company only, not for the job seekers.

      1. misskrystal1982

        You do have a point. Some days we are just in a bad mood, and that shouldn’t be held against us. I would hate to be on the way to an interview and have a bunch of bad stuff happen and then show up and they use this thing on me and think, “Oh, she has anger problems. Let’s not hire her.”

    3. adees26

      You are right it could help determine mental behavior of a potential employee. Even though, sometimes people have days when they just do not feel good or something. So it would be an unfair factor to place emotions on the table. I mean, it is great technology but one has to be weary on how they go about using it. I mean look what happened to certain technologies today. The PC was great technology, yet people still use them for no good.

  5. sunshine703

    This does sound innovative but also quite creepy at the thought of it. It seems as though the human race is relying more and more on technology and hoping technologies improvement will lead to the improvement of society. I guess it could be put that way. But trying to keep society in a happy mood is quite impossible because no matter what you utilize to try and achieve this, there will always be people who are discontent with your decisions. Always. Though it’s is trying to improve societies health, it can also create an opposite effect and that is make the public feel uneasy. If there are street cams and security who monitor your facial expressions, who then in response text your parents your unwell, then who else knows I’m unwell? The fact that my parents were able to know from a text while I’m on the street walking, then who else is watching me? Is it just the camera? Does nobody else know? Innovation can be beneficial but it can also be used for evil purposes. Though improving society and technology is a must, we must always remind ourselves what are we’re using technology for. It must be for the benefit of society and not another tool for whoever they may be to gain information out of our lives.

    1. ScooterBrandon

      I would agree. I see this as powerful both in good ways and bad ways. The potential for abuse is huge.
      I am interesting in what sort of mechanism and laws we will have to put in place before this becomes widespread. Hopefully we can put those in place BEFORE the abuse happens.

    2. adees26

      I agree as well. This technology would be helpful in many ways. But the question still remains, in my head anyways. Will this technology push future generations further away from being able to socialize normally? Now, given the fact that I have not done any scientific research, will it make people less social. If we rely on technology to determine emotions, then we may get lazy in determining them without technology. That is the question I would have to have answered before I felt easy using it.

  6. Sevrin

    Wow! This has to be one of the coolest tech innovations I’ve seen in recent memory.
    Definitely going to have use in medicine, and perhaps it can improve our quality of life like you said.
    But I have to wonder, technology that generates statistics can also be used to too quickly generate assumptions and impressions. For example, what if someone only really checks the app when they’re feeling down and need a pick-me-up? The app would record a higher number of “sad” instances, and make it seem like we have a sad individual, when that might not be the case.

    1. vegg

      I agree that this is a cool innovation, and I think the possibilities for its application are endless. At the same time, though, I question how GOOD this app actually will be. Humans themselves are emotion-detecting experts. We can easily distinguish a fake smile from a real one, for example. We also know when a loved one is smiling or frowning, even if their smile or frown are unusual.

      My point is, will this app ever be good enough that it could improve on human interpretation. I’m not saying human interpretation is perfect, but we’re pretty good at this particular task on our own.

    2. adees26

      This is exactly what I was thinking. As well as privacy issues. To determine if technology is good or bad, determines on how we use it. What I mean by that is if you abuse technology of course it is going to turn out to be bad. If you use technology for good, more of a back up instead of a first choice, will make the technology being used good. So whether or not someone uses it in a conservative way determines if it would be useful or not.

  7. SereneAngel88

    That does sound like an interesting app to have. Personally, I think it would do well with people that either have a hard time talking or have a harder time grasping any language. Rather than trying to spend hours trying to get a response verbally, we can use body language to at least get a general idea of how the person feels and if we are close at understanding what they want. I’ll be sure to follow up with this and see if I can find anything else like this online.

    1. adees26

      That is a great idea. This app would be great for people who speak other languages. I mean it would help better interpret the way they feel. If they feel frustrated, angry, or happy. I would love to see how this app moves forward. I mean it seems like a great app but it also seems it would have to be flawless for people to use it on a day to day basis. Most of the time when technology like this comes out it is loaded with problems.

  8. Viorel2

    Yeah, the implications of this technology are quite scary. Especially with entities like Facebook, who squeeze every last bit of information that they can out of their users. I don’t think it would be that far of a stretch to think that in the future major companies could use technologies like this to capture our reactions and feelings about certain products or subjects and then use that information for marketing purposes. I think at least something like that is unavoidable at this point.

    1. Sevrin

      Well at least we’ll get ads that we actually care about then. I actually view improvements in marketing as a good thing, since I’ll be getting stuff that actually interests me, and then deciding whether I actually want to buy the product or service or not.

      Though I can definitely see how this would be scary, some people just can’t control their spending and it goes downhill really fast from there.

      1. Viorel2

        Sure, that would be a positive effect of these types of technologies. But we see nowadays problems with certain smart tv’s that always record the conversations in the rooms they’re in. And it’s illegal (or at least against the terms of service) to disable that “feature” of the smart tv. I’m referring to the Samsung Smart Tv’s. Just imagine what would happen when companies get their hands on technologies that can tell how you feel. I’d be okay with this type of technology if it was optional. But that’s not what’s going to happen. We are going to be told that those are the terms of service and if we don’t like it then we shouldn’t use certain services, and since the majority of people is going to accept these things, we’re all gonna have to accept them. You might say that this isn’t so bad. But, for instance, messages from Facebook have been used in one instance to not allow a german ( I think) woman into the U.S. because of what she had talked about on Facebook, in a private conversation. It’s going to be pretty bad when someone has a profile of you, not only containing what you’ve said in “private” conversations and what you looked at online, but also how you felt about all that stuff :D. I’d like a little privacy.. which I know I’m not going to get.. but anyways. Sorry for the rant.

    2. adees26

      See, that is what I am worried about. Companies like Facebook and Google who want to sell your information to ad companies so they can make billions of dollars. This would make things much harder for the app to move forward. The reason why is that people would get turned off from the use of the app. I mean it could be used to help further social media. Then we would have to trust these companies to do the right thing and giving the past problems with privacy, they may be hard to trust.

  9. polski691

    This is truly an amazing concept, but I do feel like someone somewhere is going to find a way to use this technology to breach our privacy. Apart from the cameras on our personal devices, if this is to be adapted on a higher scale, it will rely on a huge number of public cameras, and the idea that a malicious user can access these if he feels like it really brings forth a whole new dimension of ways this could go wrong. Personally, I think this is an amazing idea and wish to see it implemented in our everyday lives, the increasing amount of cyberattacks around the world, plus the Big Brother scares in several parts, really tone down the feasibility of such a project on the worldwide scale.

    1. adees26

      Privacy is the main issue with any technology that gathers information. The other thing is trust. Can we trust people and companies when they implement this into the devices of other machines. Trust and privacy are the big issues. I mean if we can trust others with this app then privacy would not be a problem. Also if privacy was really great then we could trust others with this technology. You can not have one without the other.

  10. Liv6

    I’ve always loved Ted Talks since I was introduced to them by my AP Human Geography teacher in ninth grade. I think this is now probably one of my favorites; it’s definitely an interesting concept. I really hope this app does well on the market. As many others have mentioned, it has the potential to change people’s lives, both in the health field and in long distance relationships.

  11. mars

    Wow! This has to be one of the coolest tech innovations I’ve seen in recent memory.
    Definitely going to have use in medicine, and perhaps it can improve our quality of life like you said.

    1. adees26

      I think police officers could help use this along with a lie detector test to catch criminals. Hopefully it can improve our quality of life in many ways. Only if this technology is not the only sole determining factor on things. For example one should not use just this app for an answer. They should have other methods lined up so they can get better accuracy on whatever they plan on using it for.

  12. ZXD22

    That’s pretty cool! An app that measures your facial expression to rate how you feel? That would basically be the future of ad ratings right there. Ad companies would use this technology to see how much you’d find the product interesting or not which I think would be very effective!

  13. CrowdedHighways

    That is really fascinating. There are many fields this app could be used in, for instance, medicine. Can you imagine judges using the app in courts to make a decision about the mental state of the accused person? Would that even be legal? Is this app more or less reliable than, say, lie detectors?

  14. takeshifujimoto

    So now my phone will know when NOT to bombard me with notifications lol. All jokes aside, this seems like something to really look forward to! Just imagine, not so long ago, all this stuff would be considered sci-fi! And now it’s reality. Technology is amazing 🙂

    1. adees26

      Hey it could be implemented in with determining when to send text messages and notifications. Just think if the app could tell when you are angry it shouldn’t send to many irritating notifications. Only if it could be implemented with something like siri or something similar. That would be one step closer to artificial intelligence.

  15. turtledice

    I guess the benefits are amazing, to help treat mental patients , depression, this could open up a whole new world for them. Perhaps even be used as lie detectors, to help out with interrogating a suspect. However, with all the encouraged increased usage of cameras , it could be a tad too intruding into people’s privacy. The benefits do seem to outweigh the negatives though, overall it does seem like a good thing to implement.

  16. JohnGrey

    Great new technology with lots of applications to make our lives better. However I can’t help but see some instances where this technology might be used to invade our privacy. Now, not only will the government know exactly where I am, but they will also know how I feel. The technology is great, but what we do with it, might not be so great overall.

  17. egads

    I was unable to find it but I wanted to comment that I have heard of apps tracking mental health before. There was a TED talk a while back about this app that tracks how much time you spend on the phone, texting, social media and based on your previous usage it can predict if you are going into a depression. When trying to find it I did come up with another app that also detects your emotions by tracking your voice. Pretty fascinating stuff.

    There are people commenting that this is scary or that we are trying to avoid caring properly for mental health. Yes the advances can be scary but if properly monitored it can be really useful. Does a depressed person know they are depressed? It’s like a catch 22, how can a ‘crazy’ person know they are crazy to ask for help? Maybe they don’t realize they are slipping into a downswing of behavioural patterns. Something that reminds them may help them snap out of it and implement any plans they have in place to deal with it. Just some thoughts.

    1. JohnGrey

      It’s not the advancement that is scary, it’s how it can be used by humans that is scary. I was taught that I should always try to see both the good and the bad in everything (because nothing is only good or only bad). I think most people are aware of the benefits this application could have, but few of them realize the risks is possesses to their privacy. If you want it to be properly monitored, people need to be aware of the risks and make their voices and concerns heard. And you are right, if properly monitored the risks are minimized, but not entirely erased. Hacking something like this application happens all the time, even big corporations and governments are hacked often.

      And another thing, yes, a depressed person knows they are depressed. Being depressed and being crazy are two different things. If you were ever depressed you would know that. And I’m talking about actual depression (the kind that doesn’t let you get out of bed to do anything and that convinces you to end your life), not the “i’m a little sad” depression.

    2. xXxDefinexXx

      Nothing can be properly monitored. Murphy’s Law. What could go wrong, will go wrong! It’s likely that many corrupt and totalitarianism-like countries will use this tech to monitor their citizens. Uprisings and rebellions would be easily thwarted ahead of times with the monitoring of feelings. No one would be able to express freely with their faces anymore or else they get hauled off to whatever horrid punishments a state gives. However, like you stated there’ll the health benefits you stated. It all depends on if this tech is easily duplicated or stolen for illegal purposes.

  18. Cinna

    This worries me more than just a little. I get that it has possibilities for the mental health field but it makes me think of a Twitter app the Samaratians tried that turned into a disaster. It allowed people to monitor other’s tweets and picked up on certain words to see if someone might be suicidal.
    It ended up being scrapped because of the potential for people to abuse it. I could see that happening with this. Just because someone has a certain expression on their face…they may not be feeling a certain way for sure. It could lead to problems and over identification of mental health issues.

  19. MrsS06

    So many amazing uses for this technology! Just like all other technology with the good comes the bad. In my opinion the uses for this in the mental health field alone outweigh the negatives everywhere else. Imagine what we would be able to accomplish getting those with serious mental illness treatment when they need it. In today’s world all too often the needed treatment comes too late after hope has already been lost. I can see major uses in the area of addiction too. If the app on your fridge, in your mirror, or car could recognize that you were feeling angry, sad, depressed, or whatever your trigger was and contact your sponsor or family member. The potential to save lives with emotion recognition just blows my mind!

  20. denelizr

    I agree with everyone else about the huge advantages this could have in mental health studies. It would be especially great for large corporations to have a hands on sort of approach with each of their employees. So it has some really great potential and advantages. However, when it comes down to my alone time I don’t think I want ads and suggestions popping up every five seconds. For example, if I’m just in a mellow mood; nothing is really wrong then, I don’t want my laptop throwing suggestions and analyzing me every five seconds. I don’t like when my mother does it and I won’t like my electronics doing it. That will only annoy me, and make me feel like my right to privacy and being alone are being invaded. It may sound ridiculous, but I feel like that’s just giving a little too much power to technology outside of professional means. It’s quite scary honestly. Just my opinion.

  21. dtoast

    As it’s been said, the benefits to mental health research stand out definitely. Especially with, for instance, depression, considering the new talks among experts about classifying it as both a mental and physical disease, which I support as the world still takes depression too lightly. While the possibility of abusing this tech may sound scary, it’s something that comes with all newer technologies. I’d personally love to see it being used as a lie detector like someone said, specifically in this dumb game show where you earn as much money as you shame yourself by answering questions and losing for ‘lying’.

  22. tinypony7

    Its amazing what technology can do nowadays. I hope this app can improve people’s lives for the better. Hopefully this will help us discover our emotions better and how to make them better on a daily basis. I’m looking forward to seeing this in action.

  23. aeries

    Everyone in the comment fields here who have been thinking about the potential medical benefits seem to see that as a good thing: maybe we could catch depression and schizophrenia just from watching and analyzing people’s faces!

    That could be groundbreaking, but it’s also terrifying. People who have mental illnesses are discriminated against in a lot of circumstances in our society. An employer won’t want to take a chance on a “depressed” employee, for example, even if it’s nothing more than looking sad at your desk while being a productive worker. Could you imagine a dating site getting its hands on your daily expressions and moods?

    I’m also really surprised that this technology works as well as it does. She does mention the difference between a smile and a smirk, but what about the difference between a happy smile and a nervous smile? Does the app pick up on that? (Her volunteer definitely seemed nervous at some points!)

    There just seem like a lot of places things could go wrong, too, especially with passive input. I just frowned at my screen, and it wasn’t at the comment I was reading, it was just because my ankle is sore and it twinged at the wrong moment. Maybe an individual wrong data point doesn’t matter too much, though, if it’s meant to take things in aggregate.

  24. Sara

    Please let this be real, with this kind of break through….Phones could be our best mate, I mean there are a lot of times when you don’t know how you feel especially if you have lower EQ. Knowing how you feel is the first step to control your emotions therefore preventing you from hurting yourself and other people…

  25. Jasmine2015

    It seems that this app could potentially be a double edge sword. Great for assessing mental health or atleast getting a good idea on the individual. Bad for when it comes to privacy issues and preventing people from using it with evil intent. Now if only we focused on how we interact and treat each other the same way we focus on improving technology, I wonder how much people would be dependent on technology for human interaction vs face to face?

  26. katien

    Okay, this is really interesting and I appreciate the potential benefits associated with it, especially the benefits associated with diagnosing mental illnesses, because that’s something I’m really passionate about, but it’s also scary.

    I don’t want my emotions to be tracked. I don’t want the government to essentially have access to innermost feelings. I don’t want to feel pressured to laugh at a comedy show just because I know that my response is being monitored. If this facial expression tracking became a thing, I would feel scared just to show any kind of emotion in front of my laptop or phone screen.

    What’s more, is happiness that has been manipulated and manufactured real happiness at all?

  27. Kuraya

    This is most certainly interesting and advanced technology, but I fail to see why it will be so useful and impactful upon social media and other long distance communication devices. We already have Skype to talk to our friends and family over long distances, and Skype does the emotion transfer job quite well, as it is really just a slightly blurry view of what we would see when encountering a person in real life, so emotion sharing is just fine. If you do not use Skype or any video calling system, you could just as well type in your own emotion in text instead of this program doing it for you. Am I missing something?

    1. GenevB

      It will be useful in a store because the camera will get your face and know when you see a products that you liked, then they will take care to spawn that product in your face until you actually buy it.

  28. Be-You

    Finally we will be able to really know how our relatives, who live in other states and continents, feel. This app will not only measure the happiness of states, showing the level of their success, but will increase sales of companies and therefore more people will be rich. Nobody likes to see himself sad in a camera so we will smile more often. The only problem is that people will find it very difficult to lie and get out of a difficult situation. I’m very excited about this app!

  29. Freelancepreneur

    I don’t know how viable this would be for the long-term, I know people that look happy when they’re sad and vice versa, and ultimately what’s the point anyways? it may seem like it has a lot of applications but other than in regards to the most obvious of cases, what benefit would it serve for us? I can see the government and other entities using this to potentially manipulate the masses but honestly, how does that benefit us as an individual? I figure if they can come up with good and creative enough applications then this might be feasible.

  30. FuZyOn

    Now that’s something I’ve never seen before but it’s actually something that I wouldn’t use in my day-to-day life. Technology already has access to a lot of vital parts from our lives and I fear the day gadgets will rule our lives and we wouldn’t be able to function properly without them.

    1. GenevB

      The only thing left is for technology to get inside us, know even how our vitals are working, then the big companies will have the absolute control over our bodies and our state of mind.

  31. kriegersan

    This is also a double-edged sword, which has the potential to grow into something really scary. Your assumption that “happy people are more productive and beneficial to society, government and corporations” is wrong, from my point of view, because it kind of sounds like being happy is somehow equivalent being easily manipulated for profit. I also think that the happiness level of the individuals forming a society shouldn’t be mainly influenced by technology, but by their own actions and mentalities.

  32. turtledove

    This could help a lot in the mental health field, and it’s great that it can also help people who are blind to easily recognize other people’s emotions. However, for many individuals, this technology doesn’t seem useful: how would I benefit from my computer knowing if I’m happy or sad? I also like having a little privacy, and I’m not sure if I’d want a computer recording what kind of faces I’m making every minute. As well as this, the faces I’m making aren’t always about what I’m reading on the computer: I could be talking to someone else in the room, or I could have heard a strange noise – it doesn’t always mean I’m reacting to the computer just because I’m in front of it.
    It also scares me slightly that technology has evolved so far that the computer can read our emotions, and record or even stream them. This app could be useful in a few fields, but I think that people should keep talking to others to express they’re emotions and actually look at one another, rather than use a computer’s interpretation to see what someone’s feeling.

  33. thecorinthian

    I love the idea of this app because it humanizes technology on a much more personal level. If we assume that in the future AIs will know how we think and feel and respond appropriately with the same thoughtfulness its creator made it to be then can it not be said that they are sentient? That they could feel more and think more than some biological creatures is a testament to the strength of the physical sciences. No more will we need to transplant brains and such.

  34. singularity

    This technology would truly revolutionize the research process in fields such as psychology. The complexity of human behavior has developed steadily throughout the years but other fields have progressed by leaps and bounds through the aid of technology. Now, imagine the impact on the science after having an instantaneous and automated detection of facial cues elicited during controlled experiments. The very speed of compilation of data alone would significantly be beneficial to the community of researchers. Even more importantly, the accuracy and precision of such information could further lessen human error and even finally escape the subjective and sometimes biased aspect of interpretation. Nevermind the effects of the widespread application of this technology on consumers; it is definitely a welcome development for the scientific community.

  35. guruproto

    I agree that this app, given time and more development, could have a major impact in our lives. A small-scale example I can think of is it being used in Human Resources. Having the ability to monitor the emotional state of your employees could improve the company’s productivity by leaps and bounds.

    I also believe that a more advanced version of this app could be beneficial to our criminal justice system. In the future, this could potentially replace polygraphs as a way of detecting lies (I’m discounting the fact that polygraphs are currently unreliable in general, but my point remains).

    The amount of possibilities this technology holds is stunning and exciting!

  36. Angel JMore

    Probably, the app has potentials, especially in the diagnosis of mental and psychological illnesses.However, the human mind is very complex for an app to fully explore. The range of human emotions seated in the brain is not that easy to understand. Psychologists and psychiatrists spend a lot of time and resources in doing so,and still misdiagnose. As for me, I would not want to subject my brain or emotions to a mere app.

  37. sbatz72

    This is a scary thought. I do not know if I would want to utilize this technology. I think the app might get it wrong occasionally. I cannot believe technology is going this far. I am almost afraid to think about the facial expressions I make and how the world would perceive these facial expressions I make.

  38. Juortega

    Although this advance is surely to benefit a variety of different fields and studies. The approach appears to be somewhat controversial. It seems the new utility could also be abused. Therefore guidelines must be set and meet an appropriate regulation.

  39. edustadar001

    I cannot imagine that this is or will be possible in the near future. The current technical standard and its behavior will only lead to misunderstandings and confusion. I saying that because the emotions of some people will not be interpreted correctly by the software and some people will take it really seriously.

    1. Bozusaki

      While I don’t think that gauging mood based on facial expression will be an effective technology in the future, measuring mood based on your brain’s signals and chemistry is very possible. You should look a little bit more into it.

  40. michaelrydell

    Makes me think of a big brother scenario. I’m not sure this technology has a positive future. Time will tell. I don’t think we need a machine to tell us how we feel.

  41. sase3119

    This has pretty massive potential uses for people with disabilities and similar. Those who have trouble recognising emotions in themselves and others could easily use this technology to understand and explain how they feel. I am curious though whether this can keep up with people who display emotions differently – e.g. those who get quiet when they are angry as opposed to showing they are mad, people with forms of depression who fake their emotions to cover it up, kids who react with anger to being unsure or not understanding. The accuracy and specificity of it will be interesting to watch develop, and I wonder also if it could become a reliable lie-detector technology or whether the current methods will remain superior.

  42. Frennemeister

    Do we really need something to tell us how we feel? I mean, we’re quite good at translating face expressions to how they feel. If someone is sad but smiles, there is no way to tell. It’s a cool app and all, but I don’t see any use of it.

  43. derskull

    There seems to be great potential in this type of software, but I doubt it would be able to gain much traction within the next few years. The reason I say this is due to all the backlash against breaches in privacy through excessive data collection. Personally, this seems like an excellent innovation, and knowing that our faces are a source of a large amounts of nonverbal communication and other signals, this could become a vital improvement in our lives. So, hopefully this software will be able to set itself aside from all the other suspicious means of data collection currently employed by U.S. corporations and the NSA.

  44. joshc428

    I wonder how this technology will affect child-rearing. With this technology, savvy toy companies will be able to create toys that can read emotions, find out what a child likes, and adapt accordingly to entertain the child. Inevitably, some parents will see this as an opportunity to allow the toy to basically raise their child. Why play with your kid when he’s entertained by his toy that perfectly understands his emotions? Something that can interpret our emotions can definitely have some uses, but we as people can already do that. I support developing something like this for data collecting, but I don’t believe it belongs in the commercial field.

  45. LC_143

    As much as I hate to say it, with all the good this technology has the potential for there is just as much potentiality for negative uses. Along with the ultimate conclusive product ventures, there needs to be some regulatory actions created simultaneously if at all possible to counteract the unfortunate but inevitable illegal scenarios that will come from such intuitive tech.

  46. soph

    It’s truly fascinating how far science and technology has come! And I am loving it, I’m all for progress. I think this is a step in the right direction, I suffer from mental illnesses myself and reading this really got me thinking how many people this new technology could help. I think this is amazing.

  47. spaceboytaylor

    This is an incredible idea! I’d love to see all of the possible uses for this invention. Mental health, product surveys, security cameras, and many more that I can’t even think of yet. I’m very excited, and it’s pretty cool that tech has gotten far enough to even unlock the complexites of a human face. I can’t wait.

  48. ISKMogul

    The possible advancements for robotics and AI could be useful. I’m reminded of a scene in the video game Heavy Rain that uses an advance apparatus on one of the characters during a therapy session to gauge how their feeling. Of course it’s being done so the player knows, but the real world implications if that kind of technology were to becomes feasible would be interesting.

    I do agree that it needs to be tightly controlled and kept from the hands of exploitative individuals or groups.

  49. briannagodess

    I think this app has a great potential in different fields and also has its disadvantages. Let’s talk about the potentials. First, this will be helpful in psychological assessments especially with people who have disorders. Depression, Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder can be investigated along with this app. I imagine psychologists loving this app. This could also be helpful in tracking suspects or crime makers. There has to be a certain facial expression that law breakers make. Maybe in the future, even body language can be read by this app.

    On to the disadvantages, I think this app can be misused by some. Like what the article mentioned, happiness in the workplace. I don’t think employees are always happy. That’s just impossible. What then will an employer do when he learns that his employee is not happy? Does he make ways to brighten the environment or does he fire the employee? I think it’s also not a good idea to make this app an official app for assessing everyone’s facial expressions. There has to be consent before anyone downloads this app.

  50. Sparkster

    You hit the nail right on the head when you said IF this technology is reliable. It’s a great idea but even psychologists and body language experts will tell you that it’s extremely difficult even for them to pick up on facial micro-expressions. Getting an app to be able to do it accurately is no easy task.

  51. Celerian

    Imagine a depressed and suicidal person opting to have this on and the data being relied straight to the correct authorities.

    It would be a lifesaver, thank god I was born in this generation.

  52. hemmo

    Selfishly, I wish that I had that app to better understand myself. Would the app be able to identify your emotions when you, yourself don’t know how you are feeling, or when you’re feeling ambivalent about something? My guess is that such things can’t always be quantified, but I’m happy to be proven wrong.

  53. misskrystal1982

    Very interesting.

    The cool things they could probably do with this sort of technology in the coming years is just mindblowing. Maybe they will be able to make an app that is a therapist in order to help those with mental health issues? There would be plenty of people who could get the help they need by just touching a button.
    It would be even better if it was something that was a one time purchase, and not something they want you to pay per minute or hour.

  54. Katekatecupecake

    I believe this could be a good thing for our society, but most importantly, we should use it to relearn how to interact and communicate face to face. This app would be most helpful, in my opinion, in health care. Using this application in doctors’ office’s and hospitals could help tune medical care to it’s finest and most helpful yet.

  55. linea

    This is interesting. I assume that this technology could potentially be used by companies in order to tailor their advertisements. I wonder how accurate the data would be? And if this app is a sufficient replacement for the human ability to detect emotion. After all technology is simply an extension of humanity, and sometimes it is imperfect.

  56. SirJoe

    It’s funny that we have so many expressions to show how we feel, yet most people don’t see all of them. They only tend to see three or four, happy, angry, sad and neutral. I wounder how many this program will be better then we are on the day to day bases.

  57. PenguinManiac

    It is true technology like this could exponentially increase the quality of our life, but…how about the downside? Could more knowledge about the way the external environment influences our mood lead to dangerous consequences? How would this kind of informations be used?
    However, we can’t afford to waste such an awesome opportunity because of such risks. This could help medicine put an end to issues like depression, which would be huge. I certainly hope it’s going to get developed more in the next years.

  58. Personablue

    It’s fascinating, just like the truth detector device, this type of device/app are always unbelievable to hear. But, I have my doubts regarding this app. Just like Sirjoe, above, said that even human being can’t make out any other emotion other than Are you happy? sad? angry etc, so how can a mere app do that. But there is a tremendous scope of improvement as technology is improving at such a fast rate.

    1. oportosanto

      That’s true, how credible can such an app be? I was assuming it was top quality, but if for some reason we use it and it’s a huge miss it will become a laughable matter of course.

  59. paultraining

    I imagine this would be helpful to moderate people’s use of technology as well. Sitting down and staring at a computer or laptop everyday can become mentally draining. An app that read your expressions could possibly see how tired your eyes are getting or if you are getting depressed, or possibly even just forgot to eat. This way it could track and moderate your technology use.

  60. dihewe

    I could already imagine google taking this secret video of you and using it to advertise. Or taking your mood and using it to suggest certain videos on youtube. Imagine it senses a pattern of depression and calls a suicide hotline for you or something. So then what does it do when you’re happy and uplifted? Log it, and then cross-check what you’ve been doing lately. Encourage you to keep doing those things? This is pretty amazing technology. And if it actually works, with a high success rate it could actually be combined with a bunch of other things to help in day to day life. But I find it to be a bit invasive. Where’s the privacy on that? That’s it’s biggest drawback.

  61. yeppeo

    While this can bring some improvement in many areas it is also scary to think that a machine can predict our feelings. It feels like we are being watched 24/7. I just hope that when it evolves, it will be used for a good purpose instead of a bad one.

    1. oportosanto

      It’s somewhat scary I agree, but how practical can it be right? Let’s say I am not feeling ok and I need some guidance, I check out the app. For me it’s not only important that the app has the capacity to see how I feel, but also to do some sort of therapy or guidance, basically it would be a virtual friend.

  62. Novelangel

    So the app can read the expressions on your face and determine what you are feeling. Hmmm, this could work, but only if all humans used the same facial features for each different emotion. Some people look like they are grimacing when they smile, others may cry when happy, or laugh when startled or frightened. Emotions can effect different people in different ways. What if the app gets it wrong and thinks you are suicidal when you are actually having quite a pleasant day? I think that the failure rate could be quite high on this app, which might cause it to fail before it even begins properly.

  63. sahara1981

    I think it would be helpful in many ways. For instance, to understand someone who is unable to speak and express themselves. Then there is the mental side of interpretation that would be good for the patient’s self-perception and the perception of the doctors especially in severely difficult cases. Yet, as pointed out by some of you I would also fear that it would lead to miscommunication and misinterpretation and that is something very tricky.

  64. oportosanto

    Sure, I think this app would have a great value because it can work as self-therapy. Many times we go to the therapist to know what we have an having an app doing the same job would save us time and money. More, if they app could give us some suggestions on what to do next it would be perfect!

  65. anorexorcist

    This is a really interesting concept and I can really see how it can be used in order to contribute to mental health for those who actually need it… But on the other hand, imagine how many weird things people do every single day in front of a camara, you can get information of human behavior in general and actually see how we work and how we react to things, all type of things. And also, I can see how this can turns out into a privacy debate, so, I think that if one day this is a reality, they need to ask for some type of permission to the people who are observed.

  66. rz3300

    Well of all of the futuristic and speculative technologies that I have come across on this site, I think that this one certainly has to be the most believable and the closest to being commercially available. I know that the technology exists to a certain degree because I have heard of smart homes that have censors that can adjust the room color based on your feeling, which is pretty cool. I am assuming it is something along those line, but it should be cool to see. Thanks for sharing.

  67. FFExplorer

    This would be an amazing piece of technology to integrate into highschools. Something like this could help prevent teen suicides, identify victims of domestic abuse, identify victims of bullying, alert schools to which students need counselling, as well as measure the effects that things such as exams, changes in staff, school events, etc. have on the student body. The possible applications are infinite!

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