Amazon files patent for emotion-reading device


Global eCommerce giant, Amazon Inc., has just filed for a patent with the US Patent Office for a proprietary device powered by its Alexa platform that can read emotions of its users.

According to NullTX, the new device is voice-powered and capable of recognizing human emotions. It a wrist-worn device that can serve a dual purpose as a health and wellness product.

It could be seen as similar to the “smart wristband” most people seem to own at this time. The bigger question is whether or not Amazon should even know how consumers feel at any given time.

According to a Bloomberg report, based on the documents submitted to the US Patent Office, the device is a collaboration between Lab126 and the Alexa software team. Lab123 is responsible for building the hardware which powers the Amazon Fire phone and Echo smart speaker.

Amazon said it is expected this wrist-worn device will communicate with a mobile application. Within the wrist-worn device, there are multiple microphones which rely on proprietary software to analyze the user’s emotional state. This analysis will be made depending on how the user sounds at the time of communicating with the device in question.

It is not clear how the idea will be debated by users/customers of Amazon, privacy regulators as well as consumer rights groups given the fact that the innovation stands within the faultline of invasion of privacy and commercial expediency.

Amazon has already mastered the game of collecting data, cleaning it and making it work magic for its eCommerce platform which is still the most cutting-edge in the world.

To break it down, Amazon knows everything about every Internet user that fall within the markets where it operates. From their habits, beliefs, values and future interests. On the surface, it seems very benign but it gets more ‘creepy’ when it is put into context. The AI algorithm that has been developed and mastered by Amazon practically knows what people need before they realise they need it.

For instance, Amazon can know that a woman is pregnant by pushing ante-natal products to them while surfing online even before they found out they are pregnant. That is how powerful the AI algorithm of Amazon is and none of its competitors come close to its strength.

It will also be interesting this product will be allowed to be sold in various markets, particularly in Europe where GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has been implemented, a regulatory framework that require online companies and owners of websites to be transparent in the way they collect and use people’s data by giving the final control to the user to decide what data they want companies to have.