Computer Recognizes Human Emotions From Conversation

Hal-9000 could recognize the emotional state of the human crew in the classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now a real-life computer can recognize human emotions via automated voice analysis.

The application analyses the sound measurements of a conversation, output by another purpose-built program. Then, based on the rules described in the new application, it is able to identify the emotions hidden in an expression and determine whether the speaker is sad, happy or nervous. Even if the emotion is unclear, the application is able to specify how close the speaker is to each emotion in percentage terms. The application was presented by Susana Muñoz Hernández at the First International Conference on Fuzzy Computation, held in Madeira, Portugal, in 2009.

The application is based on a new tool called RFuzzy, implemented in the Prolog programming language. Prolog is able to represent and operate with what is known as fuzzy logic. Prolog is used primarily in artificial intelligence and expert systems applications.

The HAL-9000 system from the 1968 novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey was able to detect the stress in voice samples. Here is the exchange between Dave Bowman and the HAL-9000, as described in Arthur C. Clarke's novel:


"Hal, switch to manual hibernation control."

"I can tell from your voice harmonics, Dave, that you're badly upset. Why don't you take a stress pill and get some rest?"

"Hal, I am in command of this ship. I order you to release the manual hibernation control."

"I'm sorry, Dave, but in accordance with special subroutine C1435-dash-4, quote, When the crew are dead or incapacitated, the onboard computer must assume control, unquote. I must, therefore, overrule your authority, since you are not in any condition to exercise it intelligently."

"Hal," said Bowman, now speaking with an icy calm. "I am not incapacitated. Unless you obey my instructions, I shall be forced to disconnect you." (Read more about HAL-9000.)

Via Science Daily.

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