Amazon prepares Smart Watch: capable of recognizing human emotions


Amazon prepares Smart Watch





Nowadays, a smart watch or bracelet can know how many steps a person takes, the miles he or she goes through, the calories he or she burns, and even how the night has gone by monitoring the sleep. But usually devices of this type are not able to check whether the person wearing them is happy, stressed, sad or angry. There are companies that work to make this possible. Amazon is preparing a voice-activated Smart Watch that can recognize human emotions, Bloombergreported Thursday after reviewing internal documents of the company.





Smart watch would be worn on the wrist and would work with a mobile application, is described in these documents as a health and wellness product. It is not clear at what point this project is or if finally the wearable will be released. This newspaper has contacted the company of Jeff Bezos, who has not made any statement about it.





Smart Watch capable of detecting emotions are common in science fiction: they are present from the stories of Isaac Asimov to more recent films such as Her , Big Hero 6. The Smart Watch described by the US media would have microphones combined with software that can distinguish the emotional state of the user from the sound of his voice, according to the documents and a person familiar with the program. In addition to reading emotions, the device could also advise the user on how to interact more effectively with others.





"What Amazon proposes to detect emotions through the voice I would look at it with a certain skepticism or a certain prudence, in the sense that it can work always and with a very high quality, but certainly not something that can not be do. It is something that is being done and that sooner or later we will see it, "says Roberto Font, head of R & D at Biometric Vox, a Spanish technology company specializing in voice biometrics tools.





This technology could help the company better target advertising or product recommendations. A US patent filed in 2017 and collected by Bloombergdescribes a system that through the analysis of voice patterns is able to find out how a user feels and discern between "joy, anger, grief, sadness, fear, disgust, boredom, stress or other emotional states. " A diagram in the patent application shows a woman who tells Alexa she is hungry. The digital assistant, realizing by his voice that he has a cold, asks the woman if she would like a recipe for chicken soup. This wearable would be, according to the American media, the result of a collaboration between Lab126, the hardware development group behind the Amazon Fire phone and the Echo smart speaker, and the Alexa voice softwareteam . The code name of the project is Dylan and there would be a beta test program going on although it is not clear if it includes a hardware prototype , emotion detection software or both.





Improvements in voice recognition systems





Font explains that "currently voice technology is advancing a lot." And the difference between three aspects that can be seen when someone speaks: "The first thing we perceive is what they are saying, the content, which in the case of a machine would be voice recognition. Then we identify who the person is talking to. This would be speaker recognition or vocal biometrics. Third, there are more subtle things such as the recognition of emotions. "





While voice recognition and speaker identification are in a "mature" stage, the recognition of emotions "is at a more incipient point". "It is perhaps the information that is most hidden inside the voice. That makes it more difficult technically to extract that information discarding everything else, "he says. In addition, it underlines the difficulty of training such a system, since a large number of recordings are needed. And he asks the following question: "How do we generate a database where we know what emotion the person who is speaking is experiencing when in many cases it is even subjective?".





Advances in emotional recognition systems can make an assistant adapt to the mood of the user and thus " communication with the machine is a little more human and empathetic" . "Currently when a man acts with a virtual assistant, the experience is a little cold because it is very palpable that it is a machine with predetermined answers," he says.





Amazon is trying to improve its assistant more and more. For this, has thousands of employees around the world who hear random conversations daily that users keep in their homes and offices with Alexa, according to Bloomberg . The large amount of data and recordings that this company collects from users has caused it to be in the spotlight along with other technological giants .





Information about customers can be useful to improve the user experience and recommend books, music, movies or other products depending on their mood. But that a machine "gets in the head of the user and try to guess what he feels" also carries a risk and raises ethical dilemmas as some precedents show. For example, Facebook analyzed data from more than six million Australian and New Zealand teens to determine their mood and provide advertisers with information about when they felt most vulnerable, according to a company document in Australia leaked in 2017. by the newspaper The Australian.







Font believes that "trying to sell something to someone at a time when he is most vulnerable raises questions about privacy and security": "I understand that the user will have to be very aware of what is being done and have authorized it because the fact that they try to read your emotions is to a certain extent invasive. "


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My Hack Stuff: Amazon prepares Smart Watch: capable of recognizing human emotions
Amazon prepares Smart Watch: capable of recognizing human emotions
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