Your Next Computer May Know How You Feel

We know from experience that close friends and family members can often tell how you feel- whether you are angry because of a  fight you just had with someone or happy about a recent promotion.

But what if your computer could tell how you feel too?

That day may be closer than we think.

University of Texas at Dallas computer scientist Yang Liu recently received a 3-year, $350,000 grant from Air Force Office of Scientific Research’s Young Investigator Research Program to explore emotion recognition and modeling in speech processing.

By studying features such as pitch, intonation patterns and word usage, Liu and her team of graduate students will then associate these features with the basic emotions such as anger, sadness, happiness and surprise.

According to the University of Texas news, “The research could drive a virtually unlimited range of applications. A tutoring system, for example, could detect frustration or boredom in a student – a sure sign the student is not learning and a different approach is needed – perhaps triggering the application to slow down the lesson or load a different one. An interactive voice-response system that detects anger or frustration in a customer might transfer that person to a human operator. An emotion component could be added to a polygraph or lie-detector system used by law enforcement. And such technology could assist in non-pharmacological treatment of social anxiety disorders”.

This news is both fascinating and insightful to those who study emotions and provide insight into the technologies that may become available in the near future.

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