I don’t know if we need a wearable device that can track emotions like joy, anger, fear, or sadness but Amazon seems to be thinking we need an emotion-reading wristband for “health and wellness purposes."
Oh, and to better sell you more stuff, of course.
Internal documents reviewed by Bloomberg show that Amazon is working on such a device, a wristband that uses microphones and artificial intelligence to figure out what the wearer is feeling at any given time. In a 2017 patent, Amazon claims that the device and the accompanying AI software would be able to know if the wearer is feeling “joy, anger, sorrow, sadness, fear, disgust, boredom, stress, or other emotional states.”
This device will communicate with a smartphone app and, logically, Amazon servers. The company will then use this knowledge to recommend potential health products, better target advertising, and give other product recommendations. Sources told Bloomberg that the code name of the project is Dylan and it is now in beta testing.
It’s not known yet if Amazon will turn the research project into a real product but, given the success of the Apple Watch, I wouldn’t be surprised to find this technology in a future health-tracking app that can not only monitor biometrics like heart rate but also psychological factors. That would be the sell, of course: buy this so you can be healthy in all fronts, physical and mental.
But what could go wrong with such a product? Just last month it was reported that there are thousands of Amazon workers who are listening to Alexa recordings and transcribing to improve Alexa's voice recognition algorithm, which has raised privacy concerns. After giving Bezos & Co. full access to our conversations and shopping habits, is it really wise to give them our emotions, too?