The "emotional social intelligence prosthetic" device, which El Kaliouby is constructing along with MIT colleagues Rosalind Picard and Alea Teeters, consists of a camera small enough to be pinned to the side of a pair of glasses, connected to a hand-held computer running image recognition software plus software that can read the emotions these images show. If the wearer seems to be failing to engage his or her listener, the software makes the hand-held computer vibrate.The device was designed for people with autism and similar conditions who do not pick up social cues from facial expressions and nonverbal language; the computer in the device uses machine-learning software that is trained to detect states such as boredom and annoyance and alert the otherwise oblivious user to them.
If social prosthetics for the socially-challenged take off, perhaps soon clip-on cameras on glasses will become the new pocket protectors in the new nerd stereotype? Though this would only be the first generation; Mark II of the social prosthetic might offer additional functions, such as cue cards on how to play office politics, flirt or make smalltalk over a pint, for example?
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