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Apple Buys AI Startup That Reads Emotions in Faces

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Now, technology can read your emotions by analyzing your facial expressions! Can it decipher the inveterate liars expressions when they lie with a straight face?

[h=1]Apple Buys AI Startup That Reads Emotions in Faces[/h]In December, when WIRED spoke to Andrew Moore, the dean of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, he said that 2016 would be the year that machines learn to grasp human emotions. Now, right on cue, Apple has acquired Emotient, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to analyze your facial expressions and read your emotions.
First reported by The Wall Street Journal, the deal is notable because, well, it’s Apple, the world’s most valuable company and one of the most powerful tech giants. It’s unclear how Apple intends to use the company, but as Moore indicates, the tech built by Emotient is part of much larger trend across the industry. Using what are called deep neural networks—vast networks of hardware and software that approximate the web of neurons in the human brain—companies like Google and Facebook are working on similar face recognition technology and have already rolled it into their online services.
'There are huge implications in terms of making dialogue with computers much more meaningful.'
“We have very real data points showing computers doing a better job than humans in accessing emotional states,” Moore said in December. “There are huge implications in terms of making dialogue with computers much more meaningful.”
Moore points our that such technology can be used for everything from security to accessing mental heath. As the Journal explains, Emotient sold its tech to advertisers, letting them analyze how consumers responded to their ads. According to the startup, doctors have also used the technology to determine patient pain, and retailers have used it to track how shoppers react to products in stores.
With deep neural nets, machines can learn to do certain tasks by analyzing large amounts of data. If you feed enough photos of someone smiling into a neural net, for instance, it can learn to understand when someone is happy. And these techniques can be applied to more than just images. They have also proved successful with speech recognition and, to a certain extent, natural language understanding.
Google and Facebook and Microsoft are at the forefront of this deep learning movement. But Apple been pushing in the same direction. In the fall, Apple acquired a startup called VocalIQ, which uses deep neural nets for speech recognition. You might not be able to hide your true feelings from Siri for much longer.

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