Big Brother would be envious...

Thomas Leavitt thomas at
Sat Oct 13 07:36:02 PDT 2007

You might wear computing's next wave

By BRIAN BERGSTEIN, AP Technology Writer /Fri Oct 12, 4:01 PM ET/


Graduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's  
Media Lab had black plastic badges around their necks that analyze  
multiple factors b including motion and speech patterns b to detect  
the level of engagement two people are exhibiting in a conversation.

Information gathered from the badges, which weigh just a few ounces  
and are a bit smaller than a deck of cards, can be sent wirelessly to  
a computer or a phone to give their wearers helpful tips. Sales reps  
could be advised that a customer's interest seems to be waning. A  
doctor could be alerted to indications of depression in a patient  
being monitored remotely.


.. or, schools could require students to wear them, and then  
automatically alert the teacher when a student ceases paying  
attention. Or school administrators when a particular teacher's  
students consistently failed to remain engaged. Managers could be  
alerted when customer service reps. don't appear to be displaying an  
appropriate level of engagement with the customer, or when a sales  
associate doesn't meet the requisite level of cheeriness (although  
I'd guess that voice stress analysis is already doing this for  
telephone customer service reps). The possibilities are endless. The  
article suggests the could be used to analyze for "social network  
analysis" inside corporations... even more reasons to avoid corporate  
America in my book.


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