Finally technology does something useful.
Is your wife or girlfriend in a bad mood? Wish you could be warned ahead of time instead of walking into the wrath blind? You can breathe a sigh of relief now. New artificial intelligence technology may be able to help.
Initial AI research shows that an algorithm can monitor people’s moods, and even couple those trackings with warnings that could predict an especially bad conflict in the future. A group of scientists from the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC Dornsife College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences have created the algorithm to identify past episodes of couple conflict to determine when another argument may arise in the future.
It’s more than just analyzing numbers via wearable tracking devices though. The data also uses physiological signals on 34 couples (19 couples reported having conflicts during the time of the experiment) in the initial testing. Body temperature, heart activity, sweat, audio recordings, and vocal intensity all played a role in determining the holistic data. Language content, like second-person pronouns, negative emotion words, and declared certainty words like “always” or “never,” also played a major role in predicting conflict.
The team discovered that the algorithm was able to detect previous conflicts with 79.3 per cent accuracy–confirmed by the participants’ self-reported moments of conflict.
“We now have a generalized system that works, but the challenge is how to make the system specific for a couple or certain clusters of couples,” Theodora Chaspari, a coauthor of the study, says in an interview.
Determining mood is only the beginning. Since researchers have already been able to pin down past conflict with their data, the next step is to use unobtrusive, passive technologies to anticipate conflicts as soon as five minutes before it happens. Then, they want to develop early interventions to prevent such episodes, like text notifications of your partner’s psyche or individual meditations through an app to alleviate stressors and diffuse arguments before they happen.
So you may soon see more people looking at their smartphones during dinner. It’s not that they’re being rude. They’re just checking if it’s a safe time to broach the topic of a visit from the in-laws.