How Does This Story Make You Feel?

Don't make us ask Canada. A group of scientists in Canada is developing a software program that will evaluate the biological responses of internet users, giving us insight into how the internet makes us feel.

I know what you are thinking. Canada has scientists?

Only kidding, of course, but for a brief moment our Canadian friends had a negative reaction to this story that might not have been readily apparent to the naked eye.

Aude Dufresne, a professor at the University of Montreal Department of Communications, is leading a team of researchers in creating computer software that will tell us when Canadians are mad at us. I suppose it will work on other people as well.

The software will measure everything from body heat to eye movement, heart rate to facial expression, collecting all of the data in order to let us know how others react to things on the internet.

Isn't that what forums and comment systems are for? Sure, but a lot of people in forums and comment sections lie.

See? There's that anger again.

The software is currently being tested at the Bell User Experience Centre in Québec. After that, it will likely be sold to marketing firms and internet-based companies for millions and millions of dollars. Unprecedented insight into how humans react to the internet is serious business, after all.

"With e-commerce and the multiplication of retail Web sites, it has become crucial for companies to consider the emotions of Web users," says Professor Dufresne. "Our software is the first designed to measure emotions at conscious and preconscious levels, which will give companies a better sense of the likes and dislikes of Web users."

Ah, what powerful biological response reading software you have! The better to market to you, my dear.

Perhaps one day this sort of functionality will be built right into websites, so all you have to do is think about how much you dislike our daily science posts without having to take up valuable commenting space.

New software to measure emotional reactions to Web [Physorg.com]
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