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Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Computers that understand how you feel
Are you ready for computers to read your every move? Imagine a world where computers and robots run everything. Terminator here we come.
Their claims are dubious, but now science is getting in on the act. It began with Darwin, whose 1872 book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and other Animals showed how blushes, smiles, raised eyebrows and the like add spice to the banal messages of the spoken word.
Now, computers can sense the mood of their users. Already they are able to identify smiles and frowns and even blushes (a subject of much interest to Darwin, who devotes many pages to it). Their programs generate well over a million combinations of facial expressions and head position and, on a good day (or with an expressive face) can. nine times out of ten, correctly identify looks of fear, sadness, happiness, anger disgust and surprise. They even do better than humans in differentiating the expression of a puzzled person from that of a drunk.