• By Sin Mei C
  • January 24, 2014

This Week in Context (20140124)

This week in Jini dev, we’re working on the first insight reports, build upon the Jini Platform API. Curious? There’s a preview on the right, and you can expect delivery to your Jini Beta app next week.

Now, on to the news. Amazon’s anticipatory shipping, an app that detects emotion in your voice, and research on just how much our Likes reveal. These are just some of the news stories that should peek your interest.

Emotional voice analysis? Now there’s an app for that.

In Emotional analysis is now in the palm of your hand, Cale Weissman covers Beyond Verbal’s emotion analytics app Moodies. While he mostly dreads this technology in the hands of megacorporations and “impending singularity doom”, he ignores many positive use cases. The same corporations can beef up their customer support when they feel we are genuinely upset. Remote monitoring of not only physiological health but how you’re feeling today for eHealth and elderly patients. Assessment and improvement by being more aware of your own emotions (technology assisted introspection and reflection). And then there are the benefits of our technology becoming ’emotion-aware’. Technology could learn what humans already ‘sense’: when it’s the time to leave you alone. For example, your phone could decide not to interrupt a serious conversation.

The last decades, conversations have shifted from face-to-face (with many emotional cues in our facial expressions and gestures) to more clinical voice-and-text-only exchanges, only occasionally annotated with an emoticon. If technology can assist us with being more aware of our own emotions and those of others, why not give it a try? Of course, with the obvious privacy restrictions – ’emotion’ and ‘mood’ are private data, and should not be recorded without permission.

So, here’s the plan of action for my Moodies field trial: 1. Charge iPhone, 2. Install Moodies, 3. Check with colleagues. 4. Press record.

Amazon to deliver to your door – even before you buy.

Amazon wants to ship your package before you buy it. The next step in anticipating customer’s need is preemptively shipping goods, even before they click ‘buy.’  The world’s largest online retailer  gained a patent for ‘anticipatory shipping,’ which could significantly cut delivery times.

In deciding what to ship, Amazon said it may consider previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping-cart contents, returns and even how long an Internet user’s cursor hovers over an item.

What do your Likes tell about your personality?

Possibly, more than you’d like to disclose. A recent study, Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior, shows that by simply analysing the Likes you’ve clicked on Facebook, researchers can accurately predict a range of sensitive personal attributes. These include: sexual orientation, happiness, intelligence, alcohol and drug (ab)use, gender, age, ethnicity,  religious and political views – and even how likely it is your parents are divorced. How could they know that? According to the study, individuals with parents who separated have a higher probability of liking statements preoccupied with relationships, such as “If I’m with you then I’m with you I don’t want anybody else.”

Most important though, is that the Likes in question don’t have to be directly related to the attribute. For example, Curly Fries and Thunderstorms are some of the best predictors for high intelligence.  And, as the researchers point out, Likes are just another example of digital records, which also contains your search queries, browsing history and credit card purchases.


  • In need for a wearable strategy? Find one at whatthefuckismywearablestrategy.com. I particularly like the idea of a Pair of Glasses that Instagrams a Selfie when you drink too much Coffee. 😉 (via David)
  • OptimizeMe is a new activity tracker that builds on top of Moves data and user input. iPhone only for now. (via David)
  • With Edison, Intel plans to power the next generation of wearables.  The Edison, a full Linux computer built for wearables, is no bigger than an SD card. In addition to full Linux support and the dual-core x86-compatible Quark processor, the Edison features built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, its own app store, and an on-board microcontroller to process data in real time.
  • More than 750,000 Phishing and SPAM emails are launched from “Thingbots.”  Proofpoint writes it has uncovered what may be the first proven Internet of Things cyberattack – involving more than 750,000 malicious email communications coming from more than 100,000 ‘smart’ devices such as home-networking routers, connected multi-media centers, televisions and at least one refrigerator that had been compromised and used as a platform to launch attacks. Time to beef up security for our ‘connected things’?
  • In What Secrets Your Phone Is Sharing About You the Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Dwoskin has a look at two start-ups that use in-store sensors to track customers and the shopper profiles build off the data gathered: Turnstyle and Viasense.
  • 140,966,607 activities tracked with Runkeeper in 2013. An impressive feat!

Last but not least, we’ve LOL’ed at the  battle-of-the-data-scientists between Princeton University and Facebook. Definitely a win for Facebook’s Mike Develin & team. Takeaway? Beware correlation / causation! And the Facebook ecosystem won’t cease existence anytime soon.

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