There is a fascination with knowing what others do, more so when you are a social media giant. While the business of Facebook was communicating to a group of friends what you are doing, how you feel and where you are, the company, and rightly so, also tried to know you better. The social networking platform became an opportunity for the company to know people, like nobody else—not even Google—could. Facebook, as the technology stands, knows what you like, what you dislike and the company is willing to take it a step forward. Facebook already has access to your device via your mobile phone—it uses the app to connect with contacts, gallery and even messages—but now according to its new patent filing it also wants a peek into your emotions.
As per CBInsight, the emotion tech would help Facebook understand your emotions as you go through posts. As the app already has access to camera permissions, it would be easier for the company to keep it on at all times. CBInsight says that “this patent proposes capturing images of the user through smartphone or laptop cameras, even when the user is not actively using the camera. By visually tracking a user’s facial expression, Facebook aims to monitor the user’s emotional reactions to different types of content.” But what good are your emotions to Facebook? The company doesn’t plan to upload these photographs, but what it can do is use them to uncover domain in tracking and AI development. For instance, once Facebook knows how you react to posts, it can deliver a more personalised content.
Even now, Facebook regulates content based on what you click, but it knows there are times you have a smile when you see a post you like but do not wish to click on. So, ideally, Facebook would know what or, this is more important, who you are smiling at. It can also help the company create personalised emoticons. Remember smart replies from Google—where the service would read your emails and give you options for reactions? Facebook might do the same. Creepy, though, but it may prompt you with a smiling emoji for each post that you smile at.
However, the real implications of the tech lies in creating a future where technology understands you. At present, companies have only been able to reach as far as facial recognition goes, but if Facebook is able to achieve this even for simpler tasks, it would be a real breakthrough. And the company has the wherewithal to do it.
With over 2 billion monthly active users, it would not take time for the company to uncover emotions, at least figure out how people smile. More important, robotics will take a new turn. While many are still looking at robots as companions, Facebook could be able to make them better, giving them the ability to decipher how you feel. As for privacy, you will remember one of those Hollywood movies where government starts to track everybody using cameras. Facebook doing that is one of those times. If you are too concerned, you can always scotch-tape the webcam. But I would recommend to let it go, because if not Facebook, somebody else certainly will. And if you have decided to bare your life on social media, why stop Facebook. Just remember not to smile at everything, or be careful of what or who you smile at, as Facebook may know your secret.