Amazon patents Alexa tech to tell if you’re sick, depressed and sell you meds
Amazon's Echo smart speaker with its blue light ring illuminated.

An Amazon Echo.

Amazon has patented expertise that would let Alexa analyze your voice to find out whether or not you might be sick or depressed and promote you merchandise based mostly in your bodily or emotional situation.

The patent, titled “Voice-based determination of physical and emotional characteristics of users,” was issued on Tuesday this week; Amazon filed the patent software in March 2017.

The patent describes a voice assistant that may detect “abnormal” bodily or emotional circumstances. “For example, physical conditions such as sore throats and coughs may be determined based at least in part on a voice input from the user, and emotional conditions such as an excited emotional state or a sad emotional state may be determined based at least in part on voice input from a user,” the patent says. “A cough or sniffle, or crying, may indicate that the user has a specific physical or emotional abnormality.”

It isn’t clear what adverts can be despatched based mostly on a person’s emotional state, however somebody who’s sick is perhaps requested in the event that they wish to purchase chilly drugs.

“A current physical and/or emotional condition of the user may facilitate the ability to provide highly targeted audio content, such as audio advertisements or promotions, to the user,” the patent mentioned.

If the Amazon voice assistant determines that you’ve a sore risk, the system would “communicate with the audio content server(s)” to pick the suitable advert. “For example, certain content, such as content related to cough drops or flu medicine, may be targeted towards users who have sore throats,” the patent says.

Alexa would possibly then ask, “would you like to order cough drops with 1 hour delivery?” After the order is made, the voice assistant “may append a message to the audible confirmation, such as well wishes, or ‘feel better!'”

System might elevate privateness issues

Firms get patents on a regular basis for applied sciences that by no means make it to market, so there isn’t a assure this functionality will probably be applied in future variations of Alexa.

Amazon must think about the privateness implications of letting its voice assistant analyze the emotional and bodily states of Amazon clients. Amazon and different tech corporations final month have been referred to as to a Senate Commerce Committee listening to to testify about client knowledge privateness, and senators are contemplating whether or not to put in writing a brand new privateness legislation.

Apart from analyzing your bodily or emotional states, Amazon’s patent says the system would take note of the person’s searching historical past and buy historical past:

Embodiments of the disclosure could use bodily and/or emotional traits of a person together with behavioral concentrating on standards (e.g., browse historical past, variety of clicks, buy historical past, and so on.) and/or contextual concentrating on standards (e.g., key phrases, web page varieties, placement metadata, and so on.) to find out and/or choose content material which may be related for presentation to a person.

The system would use a “voice processing algorithm” to find out a person’s emotional state. The voice evaluation would be capable of detect “happiness, joy, anger, sorrow, sadness, fear, disgust, boredom, stress, or other emotional states.” It might make these determinations “based at least in part on an analysis of pitch, pulse, voicing, jittering, and/or harmonicity of a user’s voice, as determined from processing of the voice data.”

The system would apply tags to every bodily or emotional attribute. These tags could also be “associated with or linked to a data file of the voice input,” and “used to determine content for presentation to the user.”

The emotion-detecting system can be tailor-made to every person, figuring out the person’s “default or normal/baseline state” in order that it may detect modifications that point out that “the emotional state of the user is abnormal,” the patent says.

Amazon’s evaluation would presumably be extra correct when tailor-made to a particular person, however the patent says the expertise also can decide the emotional state of “any user” no matter whether or not they usually use that machine.

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