Extra Sensory Perception

As technology continues to advance at such a fast pace, we are inundated with creative ways to see and understand the world and people around us.

NewScientist has just released information on MIT’s Media Lab’s newest project – emotion recognition glasses.

No doubt this would be beneficial for many social situations and would probably avoid social gaffes as the article suggests.

However, will this impede upon the social “white lie” that everyone has partaken in at least once in their life?  Do we really want to show every emotion? Or are some emotions meant to be kept secret?  If they weren’t, wouldn’t humans have evolved to be mind readers without the aid of technology?

In the NewScientist article, the author erroneously states that Paul Ekman’ s seven universal emotions as the foundation of the theory of lie detection has been debunked (which is not true) but later posits facts that substantiate the theory.

Microexpressions are concealed emotions.  The seven universal facial expressions are proven to be congruent across cultures. Microexpressions are unconscious exhibits of a conflict between what is being said and what is known by the speaker to be factual.  These expressions do not necessarily equate to a lie but do suggest a need for greater concentration on the subject that allowed those inconsistencies.

These new glasses developed by Rana el Kaliouby , research scientist at MIT Labs, Rosalind Picard, an electrical engineer and Simon Baron- Cohen from the University of Cambridge, are based on different criteria than the seven basic facial expressions of emotion and focuses more on the following expressions:  agreeing, confusion, thinking, concentrating and perhaps the most important one for social reasons, disagreeing.

According to PC World , these MIT researchers began studying this technology to aid in amplifying  emotional signals for autistic patients.

The software, amazing as it is, has a percentage rate of 64%, which is more accurate than the average human but only by about 10%.  The prototype has a camera, the size of a grain of rice, which is wired to a computer.  In turn the glasses relay the emotional information to the wearer via an ear piece and a blinking red or green light.

What are your thoughts on these new glasses?

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