What is ‘Emotional Internet of Things’?

Amazon’s recommendations have become so right for me that sometimes I forget it’s a robot, I mean it’s an algorithm; it feels like a friend”, speaks any regular online shopper. People today wants physical-digital experience involving the speed, roadmap, time travel they will do, services and of course, the delivery. Search engines, Social media sites and news outlets have become quite smart at giving us what we want.

Before Understanding ‘Emotional Internet of Things’, let us first understand what IoT (Internet of Things) is:

Emotional Internet of Things

So What Is The Internet Of Things?

IoT is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet including everything from cellphones, wearable devices, air conditioner, headphones, lamps, traffic lights, coffee makers, drill of an oil rig, washing machines, a jet engine of an airplane, etc. The Internet of Things is a gigantic network of connected “things” (which also includes people): people-people, people-things, and things-things.

Designers, Developers, Marketers, etc., are handed a new piece of technology everyday and demanded to enfold the original thing in the most disguising beautiful skin. It works. Some find it bewitching, while for some it’s ludicrous. That’s the way how technology works with IoT, isn’t it? Personalization algorithms can mold where your attention was, who you will interact to, and what new things you discovered. A friend or a stalker? Well, when the algorithm works fine, it’s a buddy feeling but when it doesn’t match user’s expectations it’s an ‘Uncomfy stalker’ and seems creepy. Weird! A friend and foe at the same time. There has been a massive growth in various category of mobile app development solutions and it’s fascinating.

You don’t want to spend time with the Internet of Annoying Things constantly interrupting and demanding attention because we are dealing with Internet of Emotional Things.

So, the point is “Since when does Internet started being emotional?” Ohhh, believe me. It is increasing its acceleration and it will make a whole new user-experience from then. It does reflects your daily likes, subscribes, locations, tags, comments, ratings, recommendations, etc. by showing us more of what we’ve clicked on before. Emotions responses like wow, dislike, like, happy, sad, angry, dumb, numb are now integrated into our online emotional vocabulary. What? Obviously, we are already addicted to it on Facebook, Whatsapp, Hike, Skype, etc.to show our positive and negative drives of behavior change.

So what now?

Emotion-sensing technology (EST) is taking a paradigm shift- experimental phase to a reality.

  • EmoSPARK, a smart home device, creatively makes an emotional profile based on a vocal characteristics, word choice and facial recognition. According to your mood, this will then deliver corresponding music, video and images.
  • The MoodMetric ring and the Feel wristband use sensors that read pulse, skin temperature and galvanic skin response to detect emotions.
  • Screens that detect facial expressions are starting to be mapped to feelings. Text and voice analysis are becoming more sensitive to nuance and tone too.
  • Wearable that can detect physical traces like blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature predicts about our fluctuating mood.

Rather than companies only building algorithms around their own services, there could be algorithms built for individuals.”, Jarno M. Koponen said.

Having a better understanding of each other’s emotional states would make going through life easier,” notes Heather Schlegel, heathervescent.

Imagine an ‘Emotion Chip’ like a GPS location chip that is now part of many consumer devices. An emotion chip would have many sensors like optical sensor to read your facial expressions, tone of voice, physiology. These small chips would passively collect data about your emotional state and it would leverage machine learning on device or in the cloud to make real time inferences about your emotions. Internet of Things is becoming more and more dominant. Are we becoming their submissive slaves? What does this mean? Let’s know:

Emotion and Conversation are bound together. It so seems natural and genuine like it hasn’t really been designed, but it is. The way your emotions are displayed on your mood-tracking app, sweet conversation with Siri, and interplay between artificial intelligence and a human assistant on a travel-planning app are designed. Designers have a role in determining and training the input, with sensitivity to ambiguity and context. Algorithms translate various data inputs into an output that is an experience. Emotionally intelligent technology will convey and evoke emotions on five levels:

1. Framing our feeling

We reveal emotion to ourselves because we want to know ourselves better; tracking our emotions, especially stress triggers or peak moments, potentially adds another layer of understanding. Revealing on negative emotions may cause anxiety or exacerbate mental illness. Reflecting on our emotions may be a positive thing, allowing us to savor experiences or cultivate happiness. Also the app development companies are trying to make their mobile apps to be seen as an enterprise which is further taking IoT more involved in it.

2. Sharing, Showing our feelings to others

Chubble is an example of an app that lets you share live moments with your friends and see their emotional reaction explicitly in real time.

Facebook’s ‘Feeling happy, sad and what not’ is nothing but sharing the feelings. Do you know what’s the power of ‘Emotional Internet of Things’. Other people knows about your mood just by your emoticons.

Now, sharing and showing the emoticons is something more than it used to be.

3. Trusting the emotional-tech

Yes, we do some quick recommendations based on our emotions to others through app or referrals. The emotional state of many people could be matched up with your current state. Pplkpr is an example of an emotionally intelligent recommendation tool. It asks users questions about how they feel in an app and pairs it with physiological data collected through a wristband to tell you which friends and colleagues are better for your mental health. This speculative app is designed, in part, to call into question the ethics of emotions.

4. Human vs Robot

Emoticons are trying to be more and more human. We’re not talking about any Sci-Fi Hollywood movies but in the near future, emotion will be designed into the experience. For example, the text your mobile wallet sends to tell you that your impulse clothing purchase won’t make you happy, visualization of your child’s emotion data during a school day, etc. will be designed.

Pepper, an emotion-sensing robot companion, is popular with consumers and companies that provide customer support services.

Imagine if Siri will learn our emotions and show emotion in a human way. Weird or Wonderful?

5. Bridge Actual Person and Algorithmic Self

This Internet of Emotions has no ethical standards. Designing ways to pair human intelligence and artificial intelligence will be a hallmark of emotionally intelligent design.

Nevermind Game combines physiological biofeedback tracked through a wristband with a webcam to read facial expressions and eye-tracking. The results are that the game can read and respond to emotions like fear, stress, and maybe joy.

Emotion-sensing data relies on expression, gesture and voice to understand emotion, so this means designers need to think beyond a visual experience.

The time is near when our devices will have real emotions like we do. A future exchange with your smartphone voice control might go something like this:

“Hey smartphone, how long will it take me to get to the milk store?”

Answer: “Be honest, weren’t you planning to go to bar?”

Co-author = Pratik Kanada

Source: SmashingMagazine, Mashable, Affectiva, Networkworld and eeTimes