We Need A Computer To Tell Us Mona Lisa Is Happy?

from the this-story-is-42%-ridiculous dept

In some new research that is just begging for an Ignobel Award, some researchers had a computer program look at Mona Lisa to determine if she's happy. You'll all be thrilled (and I can tell you that without the aid of a computer) to know that, indeed, she is happy. 83% happy, in fact (while also 9% disgusted, 6% fearful and 2% angry). Who knew that emotions came in percentages? Of course, you might wonder if they took into account the research saying that different nationalities smile in different ways. Either way, can we take a step back (happily or not) and point out two things? (1) She's a painting. She's not a real person. She doesn't exist and has no emotion. (2) Since when do you need a computer program to look at someone and tell if they're happy? Okay, now that I've got that off my chest, I'm 32% happier, but still 7% perplexed.


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  1.  
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    dan, Dec 15th, 2005 @ 10:38am

    Precentages not degree, but degrees of belief

    The percentages are not parts. That is, 80% happy, 20% sad does not imply that she is part happy, part sad. These percentanges denote what degree of belief we should assign to the propositions

    . Mona lisa is happy
    and
    - Mona lisa is sad
    Therefore, it is 80% certain that she is smiling, but there is some probability that she is Perplexed. etc.

     

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  2.  
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    denacopoliez, Dec 15th, 2005 @ 10:48am

    79% interested

    I always feared this day when we wouldn't be able to enjoy things like art anymore because the passion has been replaced by science. This proves to me that People are too busy doing absolute nothing! But still this make me 58% worried and 22% hungry.

     

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  3.  
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    Joe Snuffy, Dec 15th, 2005 @ 11:12am

    Where can I get one?

    Do they make a program that can tell what your girlfriend / wife is feling? Now that would be of some use.

     

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  4.  
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    me, Dec 15th, 2005 @ 11:25am

    Re: Where can I get one?

    I can tell you how she's feeling. ;)

    sorry...couldn't resist.

     

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  5.  
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    Stephen Tillman, Dec 15th, 2005 @ 11:44am

    Re: 79% interested

    My interest in this comes in at the source of the need of this program. I read the article that talked about "the enegmatic smile". Ok... what's the mystery. I've never understood what the big deal is with her smile. It's not like the art of the times depcited big, toothy grins.

    Any art/history/humanities majors out there know what the great mystery is/was all about?

     

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  6.  
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    Plogo, Dec 15th, 2005 @ 12:07pm

    somewhat overzealous critique...

    I hope you're not really personally offended by this research as your post would suggest. This exercise in recognition served as a nice demonstration of the possibilities of AI (artificial intelligence). Obviously we don't NEED a computer to tell us that Mona Lisa is probably happy, but the fact that a computer could figure that out for itself is a brilliant achievment. The group that did this is probably not the first or only to advance facial recognition, but they had an amusing way of bringing their work into a brief spotlight. I don't understand why to insist on dragging it through the mud without even trying to fully understand its implications. Go ahead and feign annoyance like a baby once again.

     

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  7.  
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    PLogo, Dec 15th, 2005 @ 12:09pm

    Re: 79% interested

    I hope you're not really personally offended by this research as your post would suggest. This exercise in recognition served as a nice demonstration of the possibilities of AI (artificial intelligence). Obviously we don't NEED a computer to tell us that Mona Lisa is probably happy, but the fact that a computer could figure that out for itself is a brilliant achievment. The group that did this is probably not the first or only to advance facial recognition, but they had an amusing way of bringing their work into a brief spotlight. I don't understand why to insist on dragging it through the mud without even trying to fully understand its implications. Go ahead and feign annoyance like a baby once again. Oh, and stop pretending that science is weaking the institution of Art.

     

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  8.  
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    John, Dec 15th, 2005 @ 12:20pm

    Re: somewhat overzealous critique...

    Man. Someone needs their humor sensors rejiggered again. Dude, it was funny. The only one acting like a baby is you.

     

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  9.  
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    azuravian, Dec 15th, 2005 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Precentages not degree, but degrees of belief

    If that is the case, then couldn't the total percentages add up to more than 100%, since they don't represent opposites. For example, it would be reasonable that someone, based on a study of their face, etc. the degree of belief for them being happy could be 80%, while also having a 35% degree of being confused.

    Is it then, just a coincedence that in this case, the degrees of belief all add up to 100%.

    Or, I could just be wrong.

     

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  10.  
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    nunya bidness, Dec 15th, 2005 @ 1:02pm

    100% amused

    :)

     

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  11.  
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    stephen pray, Dec 15th, 2005 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Precentages not degree, but degrees of belief

    Not that anyone cares what anyone else thinks naturally, but personally it seems to me the emperor has no clothes.. since i was a kid i haven't seen any smile on her face. everyone talked about the enigmatic smile.. but to me it appeared to be benign neutrality. smile? where? but then i have never seen a man in the moon face either...

     

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  12.  
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    Novicane, Dec 15th, 2005 @ 1:14pm

    Emotion recognition is very important!

    I think the context of this could be shifted more to a technical aspect. Software with the ability to recognize facial expressions, and associate human emotion in percentages could be extremely useful in developing more user friendly software. Software that could judge the response of an individual, or the emotion set in a query could provide better results or more helpful insightful assistance with whatever job it is doing.

    If someone is angry and software can recognize this, particular colors, tones and keywords could be used to influence the personís mood and ease their anger. Or if a person is depressed or unhappy, the software could adapt and try to find a way to help the individual feel better. All of the attempts to alter the mood of the individual could be tracked and measured also by real time processing of those persons emotional responses. Psychology teaches us that colors, sounds, wording, and vocabulary has a major impact on our moods.

    Testing this kind of software on media that we know to be a display of a particular emotion, as smug as it may be, could really help test and ensure the software is able to read said emotions to a greater degree of accuracy.

     

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  13.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 15th, 2005 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Emotion recognition is very important!

    I think the context of this could be shifted more to a technical aspect. Software with the ability to recognize facial expressions, and associate human emotion in percentages could be extremely useful in developing more user friendly software. Software that could judge the response of an individual, or the emotion set in a query could provide better results or more helpful insightful assistance with whatever job it is doing.

    Indeed. But, testing it against a painting seems fairly useless. There's simply no way to determine how accurate it is.

     

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  14.  
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    Sv, Dec 15th, 2005 @ 6:09pm

    Next...

    breaking news: the smart expressions analyser software was applied to a number of object in the last few weeks to determine that: Japanese automobiles are happier than US automobiles.

    Tommorow: are trees happy or sad?

     

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  15.  
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    Stephen Tillman, Dec 16th, 2005 @ 5:53am

    Re: Next...

    You know... Japanese auto's do look happier. Hmm... wonder if that's a cultural thing.

    Trees though... gotta be kinda miffed that they have to stand there for thier -whole- life. Kinda take the chipper outta me.

     

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  16.  
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    denacopoliez, Dec 16th, 2005 @ 6:08am

    Re: 79% interested

    PLogo: I think that you might need to switch to Decaf, Trust me everything I said was with a huge dose of sarcasm, and I am glad the a computer was able to figure out that she's happy, but i dont need one to tell you you sir need to loosen up. I didn't read any bashing here it was just humor.

     

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  17.  
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    I Own Posh!! Dangit !!!, Dec 17th, 2005 @ 4:46am

    ThEE OuT BUrsT!!! I GO OuT- POETIC

    Whats next... is the goverment using this technology to try to convict suspects.
    And... should we really..put all are... trust and hope in this science.. after all... science is always saying its right... then proving itself..that its wrong ...its true. I remember when people were excited about the lie detector test... and turns... to be faulty one. I have a friend who has passed a lie detector test on lying alone...what does that tell you... are bodies... are..too complex! Science alone cant...absolute the human emotion with "Yeeah..I am scientist...I know that I can detect your human emotion with my machine to the last digital percent.. ah doeey..ada da da."..Really..lets not play-ourselfs.......when science claims its right...with anything associated with complex matter and numbers..it always come back with a different number. You all been great..Thank You Thank You Very Much. Have a nice day.

     

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