Elise Thomas writes at Hopes & Fears:

"Right now, in a handful of computing labs scattered across the world, new software is being developed which has the potential to completely change our relationship with technology. Affective computing is about creating technology which recognizes and responds to your emotions. Using webcams, microphones or biometric sensors, the software uses a person's physical reactions to analyze their emotional state, generating data which can then be used to monitor, mimic or manipulate that person’s emotions."

[...]

"Corporations spend billions each year trying to build "authentic" emotional connections to their target audiences. Marketing research is one of the most prolific research fields around, conducting thousands of studies on how to more effectively manipulate consumers’ decision-making. Advertisers are extremely interested in affective computing and particularly in a branch known as emotion analytics, which offers unprecedented real-time access to consumers' emotional reactions and the ability to program alternative responses depending on how the content is being received.

For example, if two people watch an advertisement with a joke and only one person laughs, the software can be programmed to show more of the same kind of advertising to the person who laughs while trying different sorts of advertising on the person who did not laugh to see if it's more effective. In essence, affective computing could enable advertisers to create individually-tailored advertising en masse."

"Say 15 years from now a particular brand of weight loss supplements obtains a particular girl's information and locks on. When she scrolls through her Facebook, she sees pictures of rail-thin celebrities, carefully calibrated to capture her attention. When she turns on the TV, it automatically starts on an episode of "The Biggest Loser," tracking her facial expressions to find the optimal moment for a supplement commercial. When she sets her music on shuffle, it "randomly" plays through a selection of the songs which make her sad. This goes on for weeks. 

Now let's add another layer. This girl is 14, and struggling with depression. She's being bullied in school. Having become the target of a deliberate and persistent campaign by her technology to undermine her body image and sense of self-worth, she's at risk of making some drastic choices."

 

Source: http://www.hopesandfears.com/hopes/now/int...

Distracted. Addicted. Alone Together. Emotionally dead. Disengaged from the real world. A parody of itself.

Animation by Steve Cutts. Music by Moby & The Void Pacific Choir, These Systems Are Failing.

University of Wollongong technology researcher Katina Michael said it had to be the choice of individuals whether or not to adopt new technology.

Dr Michael, who is also a board member of the Australian Privacy Foundation, also feared we were entering dicey territory if we began predicting a person’s behaviour based on data.

“Just because someone has the characteristics or profile patterns that fit a particular group, it doesn’t mean ‘x’ will happen,” she said.

“A person might be functioning fine during the work day but an employer might say we can tell from physiological data that they’re suffering from depression, so we should cancel their ability drive a truck.”

She also feared bosses would easily be able “wash their hands of problems” and shift liability to their employees so as to not damage their company brand rather than tackling the underlying causes of issues like drug addiction and mental illness.

Source here

Synopsis: Martha and Ash are a young couple who move to a remote cottage. But the day after the move, Ash is killed. At the funeral, Martha’s friend Sarah tells her about a new service that lets people stay in touch with the deceased. By using all of Ash’s past online communications and social media profiles, a new, virtual ‘Ash’ can be created. Martha is disgusted by the concept at first, but then in a confused and lonely state she decides to talk to ‘him’…

For the full article visit here

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AuthorKatina Michael