Tracking Our Emotions

13 Jun

“Microsoft Files Patent for Ads Based on Mood, Body Language” via Ad Age

Always on the cutting edge, Microsoft has filed a patent for “an advertising engine that gauges people’s emotional states based on their search queries, emails, instant messages and use of online games, as well as facial expressions, speech patterns and body movements.” I am not sure the effectiveness of the technology, but this advertising engine would be brilliant. Businesses and advertising firms could more effectively track and target customers. I am most curious about the facial-recognition component. It seems a little strange that a software program could scan my face, and then tailor ads to my emotional expression. It feels a little bit like an invasion of personal privacy. What if I do not want some third party, or for that matter a computer that logs this data, knowing my emotional state every time I use Google? Additionally, I wonder about the potential exploitation of customers. For example, if a customer is in a distressed state then the software will pick up on these emotions. The software will flood this customer with advertisements that say they can improve their mood or help them. Because of the customer’s distress, they will most likely click on the ads or even buy something. But isn’t this exploiting a person’s emotions for financial gain? Food for thought. Still, I am eager to see what happens with the technology as well as see how it influences advertiser’s system of tracking and targeting.

Feel free to share your opinion. Do you think this would be beneficial to advertisers? Or are there too many ethical issues?

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