Imagine a world where our emotions are analyzed and responded to constantly. Recent developments from Affectiva are placing us one step closer to such a world. Their products, the Q Sensor and Affdex, measure our physical responses through a wrist worn biosensor or facial recognition software.
"Pretty much all communication, all of our experience has emotion," Says MIT professor Rosalind Picard, Affectiva’s co-founder. "Most people think technology doesn't need emotion, but it does need to show respect for people's feelings. And you can't really show respect for people's feelings unless you can see people's feelings."
The Affectiva web page advertises that the system is helpful for therapy sessions, classrooms, and market research. Their current demo analyzes emotional responses to Super Bowl ads.
The applications of this technology could revolutionize the advertising industry. Already online advertising allows marketers to target particular demographics, and with this technology it could become possible to target the moods you have found most likely to purchase. This technology has the potential to expand and improve to enable department stores to recognize a persons mood who walks in to their store and advertise accordingly.
"Marketers recognize that emotion drives brand loyalty and purchase decisions." says Affdex webpage, "This ongoing investment in research and development is focused not just on measuring, but also on predicting which ads will really work to drive sales and build brands."
The amount of data collected using emotional monitoring systems could be huge. It could include data about what a person likes to do, when they likes to do it, how it make them feel. The statistical data collected on emotions could inform a car dealership when is the best time to call offering an upgrade, or a bank to offer a new credit card.
Already Affectiva has been testing this information gathering technique, sending out around 50 biosensor clad shoppers in major cities across the US for a study conducted by the Interpublic Group of Companies Shopper Sciences Unit. The study was conducted to find out what causes reactions in shoppers and spikes their emotional responses.
It will be interesting to watch this new technology over the next few years. The ability to capture emotional data from an individual is something that currently is not being done, and the implementation of Affectiva's technology into the data collecting field could open up a whole new range of data for analysis in the business intelligence and data science world.