Amazon Files a Patent to Analyze Consumers’ Emotions
There are always numerous developments in the technology sector to keep an eye on. Now that voice-powered personal assistants have become the new normal, some companies are already looking to the future. Amazon is currently in the process of building a device which will allegedly read human emotions. It also comes with its own mobile application, to make the technology more accessible.
Even though a lot of people are uncomfortable with sharing personal information with major corporations, the rise in popularity of voice-powered personal assistants confirms the opposite is true. In fact, so many consumers have an Amazon Alexa or similar devices at home which they use on a regular basis. These devices offer tremendous convenience, even though they will also allow companies to harvest even more personal information from consumers.
Amazon is now looking to take matters one step further. Their new device will be either great or a complete nightmare, depending on which camp one resides in. This new device is voice-powered and capable of recognizing human emotions. It is a wrist-worn device which will serve as a health and wellness product. Some may even claim it is a smarter “smart wristband” most people seem to own at this time. The bigger question is whether or not Amazon should even know how consumers feel at any given time.
Based on the documents submitted to the US Patent Office, this device is a collaboration between Lab126 and the Alexa software team. Lab123 is responsible for building the hardware which powers the Amazon Fire phone and Echo smart speaker. It is expected this wrist-worn device will communicate with a mobile application. Within the wrist-worn device, there are multiple microphones which rely on proprietary software to analyze the user’s emotional state. This analysis will be made depending on how the user sounds at the time of communicating with the device in question.
While the exact purpose of this analysis remains unclear, Amazon clearly sees merit in exploring this angle. Despite the documents being submitted to the US Patent Office, there is no guarantee this device will ever come to market. It is not uncommon for companies to submit filings which will never result in tangible products. Additionally, Amazon allows its R&D teams to explore many different potential products, although there is never a guarantee they will be turned into tangible products.
For quite some time now, there has been an interest in building machines which can understand human emotions. Albeit this concept is primarily popular in sci-fi novels, movies, and TV shows, it is not entirely impossible to realize such a feat. How efficient those machines end up being, is always difficult to predict. The first iterations of groundbreaking technology are usually far from perfect. It seems likely to assume this project – assuming it is ever created – will not necessarily impress too many people at first.
Whenever an initiative like this comes to light, it is only normal people immediately think the worst. Amazon could certainly use the mental state of its customers for commercial purposes down the line. Whether it is to sell health products or improve targeted advertising, remains to be determined. In the end, it is up to individual consumers as to how much information they share with these mega-corporations. Potential products like these will undoubtedly spark some intriguing debates for the foreseeable future.