Amazon patents Alexa tech to tell if you’re sick, depressed and sell you meds

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Amazon's Echo smart speaker with its blue light ring illuminated.

An Amazon Echo.

Amazon has patented know-how that might 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 dedication of bodily and emotional traits of customers,” was issued on Tuesday this week; Amazon filed the patent utility in March 2017.

The patent describes a voice assistant that may detect “irregular” bodily or emotional circumstances. “For instance, bodily circumstances comparable to sore throats and coughs could also be decided based mostly no less than partly on a voice enter from the person, and emotional circumstances comparable to an excited emotional state or a tragic emotional state could also be decided based mostly no less than partly on voice enter from a person,” the patent says. “A cough or sniffle, or crying, might point out that the person has a selected bodily or emotional abnormality.”

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

“A present bodily and/or emotional situation of the person might facilitate the flexibility to supply extremely focused audio content material, comparable to audio ads or promotions, to the person,” the patent mentioned.

If the Amazon voice assistant determines that you’ve got a sore menace, the system would “talk with the audio content material server(s)” to pick out the suitable advert. “For instance, sure content material, comparable to content material associated to cough drops or flu drugs, could also be focused in the direction of customers who’ve sore throats,” the patent says.

Alexa would possibly then ask, “would you prefer to order cough drops with 1 hour supply?” After the order is made, the voice assistant “might append a message to the audible affirmation, comparable to properly needs, or ‘really feel higher!'”

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 can be carried out 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 firms final month have been known as to a Senate Commerce Committee listening to to testify about client knowledge privateness, and senators are contemplating whether or not to jot down a brand new privateness regulation.

Moreover analyzing your bodily or emotional states, Amazon’s patent says the system would have in mind the person’s searching historical past and buy historical past:

Embodiments of the disclosure might 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 forth.) and/or contextual concentrating on standards (e.g., key phrases, web page varieties, placement metadata, and so forth.) 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, pleasure, anger, sorrow, disappointment, concern, disgust, boredom, stress, or different emotional states.” It could make these determinations “based mostly no less than partly on an evaluation of pitch, pulse, voicing, jittering, and/or harmonicity of a person’s voice, as decided from processing of the voice knowledge.”

The system would apply tags to every bodily or emotional attribute. These tags could also be “related to or linked to an information file of the voice enter,” and “used to find out content material for presentation to the person.”

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

Amazon’s evaluation would presumably be extra correct when tailor-made to a selected person, however the patent says the know-how may also decide the emotional state of “any person” no matter whether or not they usually use that system.

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