ATMs That Read Your Emotions

from the sad?--why-not-take-out-some-extra-money? dept

I assume most of us, at some point or another, have gotten angry enough with a computer to make a somewhat… rude gesture at the machine. While we all know that the machine can’t recognize our anger, would we react differently if it could? Would you, Dave? Anyway, that’s what some researchers are working on. Specifically, they’re building a system that will allow an ATM machine to recognize someone’s mood and change the prompts accordingly. So, if they see you get annoyed at an ad, they won’t show it to you again. If you find something on the screen funny, they’ll remember that. Some folks don’t like this because they’re afraid that it’s a privacy violation – though the researchers point out that if you go up to a human teller, they’re doing the same sort of analysis on your body language. Eventually, they think the technology can be used for other computers, beyond ATMs, so that the next time you act like you’re going to hit your computer, don’t be surprised when it decides to pout or shock you in self defense.

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Comments on “ATMs That Read Your Emotions”

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Ed says:


Reasons why this may unnerve people:

A human teller may notice your mood, too, but she’ll forget it as soon as you step away from the window. Combine a human’s power of observation with the infallible and limitless memory of a computer, and what will happen? If it notices that you’re grumpy on a 28-day cycle, will it display an ad for Midol?

Ultimately, people wouldn’t mind sharing all kinds of “private” info with marketers, if they really used it for the consumer’s benefit. But marketing and advertising are intended to make more money for the advertiser; any benefit to the consumer is incidental. Here’s a primitive example: when you buy a bunch of junk food at the supermarket, what do you get? A bunch of coupons for competing brands of junk food, not coupons for the healthy stuff you should really be eating.

Mgallagher says:

Oddly enough, I don't think this is a privacy issu

That’s strange, I think almost everything else is a privacy issue. This, however, just seems silly. I honestly can’t imagine how something like this would generate enough additional revenue for anybody to justify retrofitting big fleets of ATMs.

Seriously, without understanding WHY I’m happy or mad or melancholy or pensive or whatever, how could a machine offer me anything of value?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Oddly enough, I don't think this is a privacy

Dear Mgallagher,

Automated lexical analysis of your message indicates a high level of stress. This has been correlated, using dozens of DoubleClick cookies to establish your identity and match it with records purchased from your bank, and indicates a long-term trend toward increased stress which is a predictor of family/financial problems with a 70% confidence interval. For this reason, your mortgage application has been temporarily suspending pending further review.

Mgallagher says:

Exactly what I talking about

Ok, so the AC above makes my point with a (somewhat) silly example. All this would really do is make me take my mortgage business elsewhere, possibly to the FHCU, where they really can’t turn me down, ’cause I’d be a member.

So again, silly, ineffective technology that offers me nothing, and costs the bank both the price of installation, and the several hundred thousand dollars in interest payments that I wouldn’t be making over the next twenty years.

As Mike has said many times, business models that rely on annoying customers are not too promising in the long run.

Cory says:

Better ATM's ?

I just wish they would take the brail off the machine. I mean I understand the need for it, but there isnt anyway for the blind person to tell what the heck is changing on the screen and if you are like my bank, they always seem to move the “Withdraw Fast $50” button to the most used slot every other day.

Ooo and the ATM’s that when you are done and print the reciept they ask if you want another transaction before giving you your card back. I mean what is the deal with that ? Yes, Mr. ATM, I now see that since I withdrew this $20 that I need to rearrange my long term investment strategy while 30 people wait in line behind me.

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