We all know that computers are very fast, and precise about doing calculations, but what if they could also sense the emotional state of the person using the technology? This field is called affective computing, and soon it will be an important factor in the way people and computers communicate with each other. This theme is explored in the 2015 television series “Humans.”
Computers will interpret your body language to determine how you are feeling and then tailor its response intuitively, just as we do with each other. What makes it even more applicable, is that it is far more intuitive than the keyboard, mouse and touch screen as an input method.
Non-verbal communication is still the principal way that we get information from each other, with around 70% of a message’s content being conveyed by body language, about 20% by tone of voice and only 10% by words. Affective computing allows humans and computers to go beyond keyboards and use these rich, non-verbal channels of communication to good effect.
Emotions can be read by much the same process that humans do. It begins by connecting an array of sensors (cameras, microphones, skin conductivity devices) to a computer that gathers varied information about facial expression, posture, gesture, tone of voice and more. Software then processes the data, and by referencing a database of known patterns it is able to categorize different emotions from the sensors.
Can you imagine the possibilities from this type of technology? It will be interesting to see how this develops into the future, and how broad of a range it can become implemented in technologies that already exist!