Tag Archives: Affdex

Next Generation Facial Recognition Software Knows How You Feel

By: Anthony Germinario

Affectiva, a pioneer in emotional recognition software, seems
to be everywhere lately ‘ from discussions in my office about new MR
techniques, to a recent article in Wired.
I first heard of their Affdex technology at an ASC conference in London, and was thoroughly
impressed by the ability to capture emotions while respondents view videos
or ads. Facial recognition has been around for a while now (remember when
Facebook started guessing who was in your photos?) but decoding emotions on
those faces is a whole new frontier.

Affdex was developed with altruistic intentions at
the MIT Media Lab; to help autistic people read emotions during daily
interactions. A machine that reads emotions, however, inevitably
caught the attention of many more interested parties. While I can get
excited about using their technology to measure respondent reactions in Market
Research studies, I am even more interested to see where else this will be applied
in my everyday life as a consumer. Which of my devices will read
my emotions, and what will they give me in return?
Affectiva recently offered a 45-day free trial to developers who want to experiment with their API ‘ which got me thinking… what
are some apps or devices I would want to read my face/emotions? I’m not a
developer (just a dreamer) so here is my short list:
1)     
Apple TV
/ Roku
‘ Could the device please pause my show when I inevitably doze off while catching up with my shows on Sunday evening?

2)     
eCommerce
sites (Amazon, Gilt, etc.)
‘ While I shop, can you tell which items I react
positively to, and tailor my experience like a virtual personal shopper?

3)     
Dating
sites
‘ maybe Tinder can tell exactly how you feel about a potential match,
so you don’t have to keep swiping left/right? Perhaps you would find different
matches based on your initial emotional response, which you may not even be aware of.
All dreaming aside, one real concern about any new kind of
data capture, especially involving video, is privacy. Consumers are willing to
trade a good amount of personal privacy for novelty and convenience, but it
certainly is something that must be addressed. Rana el Kaliouby (Chief Science Officer at Affectiva)
assures us that Affdex, while it has amassed a database of millions of faces,
retains no personally identifiable information. So even if we know my face is
in there, she asserts that nobody would be able to pull it out of the system.

I, for one, will take her word for it ‘ and am excited to
see this approach applied in consumer technology. What about the rest of you ‘ any other
ideas for places you do (or maybe don’t!) want to have your face/emotions read?

About the Author: Anthony Germinario is Director
of Technical Product Management at BuzzBack,
where he is focused on developing and integrating unique respondent and
reporting experiences for online research. He has earned his PMP certification
and holds a B.S.B.A from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. You
can keep up with him on Twitter @AGermBB and
on LinkedIn,
as well as on BuzzBack’s blog.

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