How are you feeling? The internet can tell

December 16, 2015

Expecting your computer to stage an intervention next time you have a breakdown while bashing your keyboard after wrangling with the screen over a poorly designed website is no longer the stuff of fantasies. A research breakthrough in computer science and behavioral studies has given way for an even more precise method of gauging – with an eighty percentile rate of accuracy – what mood you  chance to be in.  

By utilizing what is called “attentional control” and tracking your behavior through cursor movements and the frequency of mouse clicks, researchers are able to gauge what feelings are being synapsed through your fingers. Scattered, forced, and less precise cursor movements point to feelings of frustration, sadness or confusion, while smoother, more accurate strokes suggest an over-all feeling of calm and collectedness. Research also concludes that agitated users have slower mouse movements as well.   

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It’ll be a matter of time before websites may not only be able to pick up your vibe, but also use this information as a means to an end of knowing how to better approach you, to in turn achieve stronger impact through notorious direct advertising. But on the bright side, websites will also be able to gauge customer satisfaction and alternatively propose solutions when a signal goes off as to what the user is feeling when navigating the interface. In this way, it becomes a means of improving ease of use and web design.

Easily, surfing while drunk or under the influence can also be detected, and in the future, warning messages could be sent to whoever is on the receiving end of a harrassing drunk chat. This could also be an effective means of warding off cyber creepers, pedophiles and crazy stalkers.   

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 Websites will also be able to track not just traffic, but the emotive aspect that is driving website traffic, with statistics pointing to how many disgruntled users are leaving the site, and the level of customer satisfaction for more content and therefore regular users.

Sooner than later, the research is expected to extend beyond computers, so next time you enjoy a moment with your iPhone, hang on to that feeling. And don’t give it too much thought…

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by Ghassan Khayyat
Ghassan was tuned into the writing world on a transistor radio-wave of an unbeknownst frequency, once upon a daydream dreary. With a firm belief in Dr. Seussims and all things gadget and gizmo-tronic, he tinkers before he speaks, and chooses his words technologically. He is Editor for T3 Middle East’s Levant English publication and English website, and Associated Editor for the GCC English publication. Reach him at ghassan@t3me.com.