Mind-Reading Computers and Cars Coming Soon

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Monday, June 26, 2006

An “emotionally aware” computer is being developed by British and American scientists which will be able to read an individual’s thoughts by analyzing a combination of facial movements, like a raised eyebrow, quizzical look or a nod of the head, that represents underlying feelings.

The system allows a wide range of mental states to be identified just by pointing a video camera at someone claimed Professor Peter Robinson of the University of Cambridge in England.

Mind-reading computer’s applications could range from improving people’s driving skills to helping companies tailor advertising to people’s moods. The new horizon of advertising - mood based advertising. Imagine getting the advertisement for a gin when you are depressed or a woman getting advertisement for clothes / shopping. I think it can be extremely effective.

The program will be unveiled at a science exhibition exhibition organized by the Royal Society in London on Monday where volunteers will be used to gather more data.

“Our research could enable Web sites to tailor advertising or products to your mood,” Robinson told Reuters. “For example, a webcam linked with our software could process your image, encode the correct emotional state and transmit information to a Web site.”

“We are working with a big car company and they envision this being employed in cars within five years,” Robinson said, adding that a camera could be built into the dashboard.

via eWeek
The scientist said that anyone who does not want to give away too much information (like me) about what they are feeling can just cover up the camera. However it may not be that simple. For example lot of websites today including several Google products require you to enable Javascript. So it is conceivable free products will demand to see your face (and gauge your mood) before they allow you access to their services / content.

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