In today’s artificial intelligence news, scientists at MIT are starting to use a mix of AI and Wi-Fi to help them learn more about our emotions and how we feel about certain things. The group behind the experiment are using a special algorithm they’ve created to get to the bottom of our feelings by measuring heartbeats and sending radio frequency waves to bounce of subjects’ bodies.

The radio frequency (RF) waves are used by an emitter much in the same way medical professionals use EKG machines on patients. The same technology that we have in the internet routers in our homes is used to send these waves. What makes this experiment even more interesting is the amount of machine-learning that goes into it, which the team has dubbed “EQ Radio.”

The process of finding our emotions

Although the process reminds us of an EKG, it differs in some ways. Unlike an EKG machine, this device doesn’t have any wires or tethers that physically connect to the subject. Without any connections, it becomes difficult to send any kind of frequencies to the subject or measure their heartbeat. As a person standing alone in a room, the frequencies cannot be measured without wires. That’s where AI comes in.

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AI is able to measure distance and gauge the surrounding of the subject to send more accurate wavelengths from the device. It also enables a better read of the subject’s heartbeat, which gives back more accurate information of the emotions they are feeling.

What’s next with this innovation?

“We envision that this result paves way for exciting research on understanding the morphology of the heartbeat both in the context of emotion-recognition as well as in the context of non-invasive health monitoring and diagnosis,” said one of the scientists behind the EQ Radio.

Many have expressed worry over the limitations (or lack thereof) of this kind of technological advance. Due to the lack of needing to be hooked up to some kind of machine, patients could become more exposed in a way. If we no longer need wires, then could we be treading into territory that defies certain ethics? Forget about physical privacy – could people spy on your emotions instead?

The AI behind the EQ Radio could also be used for good within our homes. Perhaps being used alongside Google Home or Alexa would become more beneficial if we moved beyond wireless and were able to control these devices with our minds or emotions. Imagine if Siri could play a certain playlist by simply knowing how you felt without any form of interaction with you.

This all goes without mentioning the medical advances that could come along with this new technology. What if newborn babies with health issues no longer needed to be plugged into so many different machines during the first few days or weeks of their lives? What if doctors and nurses were able to help care for patients without even touching them? We may be talking about something the sounds like it’s from the very distant future, but this technology is here now. There’s no need to wait for real-life Star Trek to take advantage of it.

Whether we are seeing one of the most impactful advances in technology in its early stages or something that could eventually be the root reason for our demise as the human race, you have to admit the EQ Radio is one huge step forward. Let’s just hope it’s all used for good.

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