An Amazon Echo.

Amazon has patented expertise that would let Alexa analyze your voice to find out whether or not you might be sick or depressed and promote you merchandise primarily based in your bodily or emotional situation.

The patent, titled “Voice-based willpower of bodily and emotional traits of customers,” was issued on Tuesday this week; Amazon filed the patent software in March 2017.

The patent describes a voice assistant that may detect “irregular” bodily or emotional situations. “For instance, bodily situations resembling sore throats and coughs could also be decided primarily based at the least partially on a voice enter from the consumer, and emotional situations resembling an excited emotional state or a tragic emotional state could also be decided primarily based at the least partially on voice enter from a consumer,” the patent says. “A cough or sniffle, or crying, might point out that the consumer has a particular bodily or emotional abnormality.”

It isn’t clear what advertisements can be despatched primarily based on a consumer’s emotional state, however somebody who’s sick is likely to be requested in the event that they wish to purchase chilly drugs.

“A present bodily and/or emotional situation of the consumer might facilitate the power to supply extremely focused audio content material, resembling audio ads or promotions, to the consumer,” the patent stated.

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

Alexa may 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, resembling effectively needs, or ‘really feel higher!'”

System might increase privateness considerations

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 will probably be carried out in future variations of Alexa.

Amazon must take into account 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 referred to as to a Senate Commerce Committee listening to to testify about shopper information privateness, and senators are contemplating whether or not to jot down a brand new privateness regulation.

In addition to analyzing your bodily or emotional states, Amazon’s patent says the system would take into consideration the consumer’s shopping historical past and buy historical past:

Embodiments of the disclosure might use bodily and/or emotional traits of a consumer together with behavioral concentrating on standards (e.g., browse historical past, variety of clicks, buy historical past, and so on.) and/or contextual concentrating on standards (e.g., key phrases, web page sorts, placement metadata, and so on.) to find out and/or choose content material which may be related for presentation to a consumer.

The system would use a “voice processing algorithm” to find out a consumer’s emotional state. The voice evaluation would have the ability to detect “happiness, pleasure, anger, sorrow, unhappiness, worry, disgust, boredom, stress, or different emotional states.” It could make these determinations “primarily based at the least partially on an evaluation of pitch, pulse, voicing, jittering, and/or harmonicity of a consumer’s voice, as decided from processing of the voice information.”

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

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

Amazon’s evaluation would presumably be extra correct when tailor-made to a particular consumer, however the patent says the expertise may decide the emotional state of “any consumer” no matter whether or not they usually use that machine.

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