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15 December, 2005

Does it matter how I feel?

'Emotion recognition' software has 'proved' that the Mona Lisa is definitely smiling, concluding that the subject of the famous portrait was 83% happy, 9% disgusted, 6% fearful and 2% angry.

The part of the article which caught my attention was that:

... software capable of recognising emotions just by looking at photographs could lead to PCs that adjust their response depending on the user's mood.
Why?  What purpose would that serve?  Would it just be a gimmick, or is there some genuine advantage I'm failing to spot?

As I've said before, I don't wish to interact with my PC. It's an inert tool, just like a screwdriver. It would be unusual for a plumber to have a 'relationship' with a pipe wrench; why is a computer any different?

This spurious friendliness is one of the main reasons I reject the Mac's 'helpful companion' aesthetic in favour of the PC's 'soulless machine in a beige box'. I don't want my needs to be anticipated, or colour schemes to soothe my mood, I want it to just sit there, not impinging on my consciousness. Absolute bland neutrality and lack of personal responsiveness are the key selling points for me.

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