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Home > Expressions
 
Affective Computing: The next 
big ticket

Prashant Vadgaonkar (TECHTRONIC) / 23 November 2013

We always castigate automated computers and robots as pure machines capable of taking decisions purely based on programming logic and reasoning and not based on feelings.

BREAKTHROUGH TECHNOLOGY.... Affective computing is the study and development of systems and devices that can identify, decipher, process, and simulate human affects

However, now there is a new technology being developed which is able to comprehend your moods and emotions by simply listening to your voice and tone.

Beyond Verbal, a Tel Aviv-based start-up has devised a technology that can understand and analyse the finer tones of human voice and ascertain the feelings, moods and emotions! The company intends to commercialise its patented technology that extracts a person’s whole range of emotions and character subtleties, using their raw voice in real-time, as they talk. This field of science is commonly termed as Affective computing.

 Affective computing is the study and development of systems and devices that can identify, decipher, process, and simulate human affects. This is a complex science which spans across various fields such as general science, computer science, cognitive science and psychology and traces its evolution to the need to simulate empathy among machines. The field focuses on a study which aims to make “machines human” and equips machines with the ability to interpret the emotional state of human beings and amend its behaviour and provide more befitting responses accordingly. The broad areas in which affective computing deals with are emotional speech, facial affect detection, body gestures, physiological monitoring and visual aesthetics.

 Beyond Verbal, a company founded by CEO Yuval Mor, intends to leverage its patented technology to develop and implement emotionally enriched applications installed in any voice controlled and activated device in the market. Studies have been carried out by a host of leading scientists in the inter-disciplinary fields of physics, neuropsychology and operations research over the past couple of decades have concluded that vocal intonations span across languages and have unearthed a human intonational code. The ability to unearth, decipher and quantify human moods, mannerisms and decision-making profiles introduces a completely new paradigm to emotional understanding and cognitive decision-making and this new term is coined as Emotions Analytics. The proof of concepts for the technology from Beyond Verbal has already been successfully demonstrated in a few call centers around the world.

 While some of the obvious applications of Affective computing include more personalised and humane call center responses some of the other application areas could be e-learning, healthcare services, robotics and automation. In e-learning, the presentation style and approach by a computerised tutor can be adjusted based on whether the learner is interested, happy or bored. In health services counseling, depending upon the patients emotional state affective computing could amend responses and actions. While in robotics, machines can be made to act as per the moods and whims of the user, automated cars could alter driving patterns based on the occupants’ mood and state of mind.

 Though it is perfectly plausible to use machines to detect and analyse emotions in human beings, there can be no substitute for the human brain, the hard-wired technology for which there can be no parallel! However, the potential for cognitive decision-making based on human emotions is humungous and could very well be the next big ticket technological advancement of this century.

prashant.vadgaonkar@hotmail.com

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