Apple might soon start reading your emotions as it has just completed the purchase of a San Diego-based startup Emotient which uses artificial-intelligence (AI) to read people’s emotions by analysing facial expressions or movements.
Although Apple did not disclose any plans regarding it’s new acquisition, Emotient’s technology was brought by advertisers to help them assess viewer reactions to their advertisements. Emotient also said that its technology was used by doctors to track signs of pain in patients unable to explain themselves and by a retailer to monitor shoppers’ reactions.
Silicon Valley seems to working hard to develop the facial recognition AI and companies like Alphabet’s Google and Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook are heavily investing in the development of a more accurate form of the technology.
An Apple spokesperson confirmed the purchase of the company to WSJ and said in a statement that Apple “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” She also did not break out financial details about the acquisition.
Earlier, the AI company had raised nearly $8 million from Intel Capital and had been looking for fresh investments but wasn’t able to secure a favourable deal before being acquired.
Also, Apple had earlier expressed interest in the same field of technology. It had filed a patent in 2014 where it described working on a software system that could analyse and identify users’ moods based on facial expression and other details.
The Cupertino-based major also acquired another AI startup VocalIQ in October which aims to better a computer’s ability to understand natural speech.
Also, Emotient is not without flaws of its own. It seems to be battling itself on privacy concern as the technology could be used to read anybody’s face anywhere without their knowledge.
Google and Facebook has been more open towards AI. While Facebook has been more aggresive in rolling out its facial recognition software across social network, Google had in 2012 published a paper detailing how an artificial-intelligence program taught itself to recognise cats.