(source: IBM)

Have you seen the latest marketing campaign of IBM Watson presented during the latest Oscar awards gala? If not, you should! How close from now is a future when robots will need a therapist?

Intelligent automation and artificial intelligence capabilities, already present  on the market, change our expectations from technology. It exceeds our assumptions how technology will interact with humans. Cognitive science connects information technology, natural language processing, psychology, and brain biology. Finally there are commercial solutions like IBM Watson which can learn by itself. Technology that can speak with understanding enabling computer – human conversation in natural language is here. The difference between voice recognition and natural language understanding methods are huge. There are many scientific projects mastering this one of the humans’ senses. Computers can “read” what we write and try to comprehend this before they respond. We can then read information provided by intelligent technology. Computer can also “hear” what we are saying, and try to understand it.

Technology can also recognize content of images. It is more cognitive computation into visual recognition algorithms. Product like Watson Visual Recognition or the Stanford University project Image-Net are focused on the self-learning solutions specialized in an image recognition. Facebook deep face methods are focusing in face recognition allowing automatically recognizing humans in pictures and tagging them. Current algorithms are just as good, and sometimes even better than human brain capabilities in this area. But having conversation with a friend we know that sometime he/she doesn’t have to say a word, and we will get a lot of information just by looking at person, at face or reading body language. This is a nonverbal communication. Power of eyes in conjunction with brain is more than knowing an object. We can call much more. See a difference between a horse on a green grass and a metal horse sculpture is not o problem for 3-years old child. Maybe computers are better in listening, but a child will get in a sec if their mum is happy or said.

Fundamental of humans

Every day activities, our cognition and perception are influenced by emotions. And while the technologies master into perfection some of the humans capabilities,it is not that easy to teach computers to recognize our emotions. Can computers be more emotionally intelligent? Is it possible to measure emotions? Affective Computing discipline combines computer science with neuroscience, sociology, education, psychology, ethics, and more. It pushes the boundaries in what can be achieved to improve the human affective experience with a technology. The Unseen fashion studio introduced a dress which changes the colours based on an aura or mood of a person.

It doesn’t recognize a brain state nor specific emotions. It is an interesting experiment showing potential of this discipline.

Learn about the future from kids


(photo source: DreamWorks)

There is a saying “do you want to know a future? Ask kids about it”. In the “Home” movie there are aliens (Boov) that change colours based on their mental and emotional state. They turn red when they are angry, green when they lie, yellow when they are scared, orange when they get excited or happy and pink when they feel loved. Such a simple solution to recognize the mood.

We are at the point where we try to better understand how to recognize person emotions from the many different sources of insights (body movement, face, brain, heart rate). This is a first step. This knowledge can be used in many industries like healthcare, education, public safety, and can be applied in many areas of human life. The next step is to implement those findings into the computing solutions. Another step is to teach technology to recognize emotions and their impact on humans’ behaviours. It will take the human – computer interactions to the new level of digital experience. Be ready for affective era where technology will understand emotions, or perhaps even feel.

And Leia together with IBM Watson, they will have more work than in commercials.