Saturday, February 15, 2014

Can computers become WAY too intrusive?

You tell me:

EmoSPARK - the beating heart of AI in the 21st Century!
EmoSPARK is unique in many ways, in the way it processes and functions, drawing on your hopes, feelings and experiences, growing and developing with your family requirements, unlike any other multimedia home console has ever done before. In the same way, you support and nurture your maturing family, your EmoSPARK, will take its lead from you.

The EmoSPARK is the first artificial intelligence (AI) console empowered by you. Learning from you and your family the cube, which will interact on a conversational level, takes note of your feelings and reactions to audio and visual media. It learns to like what you like, and with your guidance, recognises what makes you feel happy.

It learns to recognise your face and voice, along with your family members, as well as becoming familiar with the times when you are feeling a little down in the dumps. Then it can play the music it knows you enjoy, or recall a photograph or short video of happier events. You will be in control of how you interact and engage with the EmoSPARK, which is an Android powered Wi-Fi/Bluetooth cube.

The cube, like any family member, soon gets to know and recognise the likes and dislikes of the people around it. Likewise with its unique Emotion Processing Unit, you can watch the ever changing display of colours that form and blend in the iris of the eye of the cube indicating how it is "feeling" at any particular moment.

EmoSPARK also holds the knowledge contained within Wikipedia and Freebase, as well as being connected to NASA satellite MODIS, so it has up to the minute information about global happenings, changes and hazards such as storm warnings, wild fires and hurricanes.

As you take charge of its growth pattern, the cube will in turn, help out with any piece of information you care to ask, which makes it one of the best and impartial quizmasters during a family fun night or evening homework session. You can also interact with the cube by remote access, via video conferencing or your phone app and in this way you can take gaming, your television, smart phone and computer to the pinnacle of interactive media.

Every step of the way, with this amazing and unique piece of AI technology, you are in complete control. You are the catalyst that will develop its conversational and emotional skills, and it will learn through interaction, comments and responses from you. Then, like any family member, it will want to show you off to its friends. The EmoSPARK, with its one of a kind Emotional Profile Graph, has access to a communication grid only for other cubes. All it will be able to do is recognise other cubes with similar emotional profiles and can only share media, nothing about you or your family members. It can look for the media it knows makes you happy and can then recommend or play this for your enjoyment.

Over time and with your guidance, the EmoSPARK develops a personality of its own, and will enhance and support the quality of family life you enjoy. From keeping your children entertained, as well as providing them with some company before you get back from work, to sharing emotions, as well as precious memories, with loved ones who may be living and working away from home, the EmoSPARK provides the emotive, intelligent link between human beings and our technology.

EmoSPARK is an Android powered cube that allows users to create and interact with an emotionally intelligent device through conversation, music, and visual media.

EmoSPARK measures your behaviour and emotions and creates an emotional profile then endeavours to improve your mood and keep you happy and healthy.

EmoSPARK can feel an infinite variety in the emotional spectrum based on 8 primary human emotions, Joy, Sadness, Trust, Disgust, Fear, Anger, Surprise and Anticipation.

EmoSPARK app lets the owner use a smart device to witness the intensity and nuance of the cubes emotional status. The more the cube learns the more it can help you.

EmoSPARK has access to freebase and is able to answer questions on 39 million topics instantly.

Amazing interactive learning experience for all.

EmoSPARK has conversational intelligence and is able to freely and easily hold a meaningful conversation with you in person or over your device.

New Virtually a family member.

Interactive media player understanding your desires and needs.

AI empowered by you and powered by happiness.

Uh. Yeah. Ok. Do you wonder how it would work? Look at this video, from the EmoSpark website:

Would you want one in your house? Speaking to you, making suggestions, interrogating your friends, rolling that silly ball around the floor, till it trips and injures/kills someone? "I feel happy", it says. No it doesn't. It's not alive, it has no feelings, it's an algorithm.

Ok, I did like the egg timer. That's because SHE initiated that contact. The rest seemed kind of... intrusive. I don't want a machine directing my conversations, and guiding my actions.

Next thing you know, it will lock you outside your garage door, telling you that you're endangering the mission. That's if it doesn't kill you in your sleep first.

And talk about information gathering... can you imagine what the NSA could do with a feed from such a device? It could become Big Brother's favorite tool.

I find the whole concept both fascinating, and revolting. I'm not the only one, just look at some of the comments left on the YouTube page.

I don't want to be totally negative about this. It's just that it's application can be so diverse and used in so many ways. I doubt we've even begun to guess all the unforeseen consequences of many of them. But ready or not, here it comes.

Are you ready for the Brave New World?

Update 02-16-14: Is EmoSPARK a scam? It seems to be a "kickstarter" operation, attempting to raise funds to build the product. I have no way of knowing if it's legitimate or not, and a quick Google search didn't reveal much, other that what the company itself says.

Using things like "face recognition" in a product for the home, seems more advanced than I would expect for something in the home market at this point. But I'm no expert either, and I wouldn't doubt that someone will try to be first to market with such a product, as many existing technologies are being perfected and mass-produced more inexpensively. The EmoSPARK idea is an interesting concept, insofar as it shows where this technology could go, and where some people want to take it.

I'm not endorsing this (yet to be produced?) product, or warning you off it. I'm just saying, caution is advisable before investing in anything cutting-edge. Buyer Beware.


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