IVR systems rely heavily on speech-rec software, which listens to your voice, picks up individual phonemes (or syllables) and converts these into words so that the computer can understand exactly what you’re saying.
IVR software has already been used in a number of different machines, computers and other devices to make communication easier, but what if we were to focus on something else?
By reworking the IVR’s speech-recognition systems, scientists and developers have managed to create emotion-recognition software.
These programs rely on the same tech to pick up on certain vocal traits, like pitch and volume, and then draw correlations to our emotions.
According to Park and his team, though, science has found it a bit more difficult to nail down the whole spectrum of human feelings than to teach an IVR system to recognize a finite number of words.
To make it easier, Park proposes listening to people and their music:
For this reason, we utilize the mood of music that a user is listening to, as a supplementary indicator for affective interaction. Although the musical mood conveys the emotional information of humans in an indirect manner, the variability of emotional states that humans experience while listening to music is relatively low, as compared with that of speech or facial expression…
…Music is oftentimes referred to as a language of emotion. People commonly enjoy listening to music that presents certain moods in accordance with their emotions.
So even though you and I may have different musical tastes, our emotional response to a lot of songs ends up about the same.
If the robot detects a “negative emotional state,” like sadness or anger, it’ll try to cheer you up by “playing digital music or synthesized speech and by performing controlled movements.”
They’ve basically created a mechanical assistant that’ll do your laundry or whatever other household chore it’s programmed to do and then put on a little song and dance.
Sounds like the best house-helper ever. I’ll look forward to the day when this tech officially releases to service bots everywhere and I can samba with my Roomba.