In a phrase: Computers that know when you’re sad.
Where to find it: Hasn’t hit the mainstream market yet, but it’s just a matter of time.
Computers have already gained the capability to play several roles in your life — library, secretary, personal assistant, dietician. Soon, however, it seems that your Macbook may also be able to take the place of your psychiatrist. New software program Affectiva, a start-up that grew out of research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, uses algorithms to recognize emotions through facial expressions with 90 percent accuracy.
The possible applications of such a program are endless: Experts say software may be able to detect psychiatric disorders more objectively than well-trained physicians or identify if a driver is stressed or tired to help prevent car accidents. The only concern is that these programs are a little creepy. Some critics claim the technology could be used to collect “emotional” data and use it to exploit consumers: There’s a fine line between cool new tech and Big Brother.