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Our smartphones are already such a big part of our lives. We use them to talk, text, watch videos, send emails, browse the web, access social media, listen to the radio, check the news and more. What if we could use our smartphones to tell if someone is sad, mad or even lying?
An article in the Washington Post details a not-too-distant future with smartphone apps that can recognize facial cues and determine someone’s emotions or honesty.
Similarly, algorithms are now being developed that link thousands of facial cues with human emotions. Our brains do this naturally – we know without asking whether someone is happy or upset based only on their expressions. Law enforcement and poker players take this a step further, using facial cues to determine someone’s honesty. But with technology augmenting our brain’s natural behavior – possibly providing direct, measurable and verifiable input – we can produce measurable and verifiable data. As sensors move from our smartphones to activity trackers to smartwatches from Apple and Samsung, we are measuring more than ever and are not far off from continuously tracking our emotions.
Technology can do some amazing things, huh? The ability to recognize facial expressions could allow businesses to help better serve their customers.
For instance, facial recognition technology can allow people to get immediate and amazing customer service. If a restaurant or retailer can identify me before I walk in the door, it would be able to identify me as a returning customer, accessing my favorite dishes or products. I would be greeted like an old friend (whether I were, or not).
There are some downsides as well.
Those little white lies we all tell our friends and colleagues in order to not hurt their feelings — do we really want those exposed as lies? Will prevalent facial recognition technology change the way we act, dress and behave around others?
If it feels a little like “1984” you are not wrong. Like it or not, the wave of the future is coming.
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