Tech and Emotions

We pitched our HappIt app at Disrupt London 2014 and it didn’t take off. Our submission was immature and so was the tech savvy hackathon to understand some of its ellaborated features. It used facial expressions instead of text, had a social element to encourage emotional data logging, and used five-dimensional motion charts for visualization of historic emotions.

Two years later, same event, same city and eventually tech realizes the value of an independent platform dedicated to emotional data collection and analysis. Congratulation to Emotion Journal for wining the Disrupt London 2016 hackathon grand prize. It is a victory for promoting genuine psychometry in tech and they did it with a one-diensional donut chart!

Now the tricky discussion is always around the data collection medium. How do you fish for emotional data? How do you ask people how they feel?

This team has an implicit approach based on natural language processing. First a speech recognition module and then a sentiment analysis algorithm.

The catch is that the phonetic language did not evolve to capture or communicate human emotions at the first place. We had faces to do that. Double-articulated language evolved partly to fake those feelings even.

Right now as you read this, even if you knew me very well, you have no clue whether I write this in a state of happiness, jealousy, dissapointment, hope, anger, shame or pride and now by lining up these keywords I have made it even harder for the sentiment analysis algorithm to capture my real feelings. Technical challanges of parsing such as negation handling and so forth are not the main problems in this area.

I’d argue that facial expression is a better alternative to capture emotions, whether an implicit analysis of an actual selfie, or an explicit drawing of a simple emoticon on a smart watch in a crowded subway.

But of course a hybrid approach combining insights from all different channels (and for example taking voice intonations into account), would be ideal. Until that day, one thing I agree here the way they said it:

“If you do it once a day you can see a visual representation of your feelings and experiences over time.”

So, whichever future app you will use to log your emotions, remember to “happ” it!

Make it a happy habbit.

Author: admin

Paranoid Data Scientist Based in Oslo

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