Emotions have a greater influence on the human thinking process than logic. Simply put: one can process information emotionally in a fraction of the time it takes them to process the information logically. Social network’s data collection and Facebook social experiments have revealed that desires, writings and decisions reveal emotional states. The biggest discovery was that emotion is contagious. The Emotional Contagion experiment[1],[2] revealed that when certain uses express positive emotional states their acquaintances experience the same emotional state.

This goes beyond group think and suggests that people are prone to empathize with their acquaintances. If your acquaintance is in a good mood it will rub off on you, i.e., you will be in a good mood too. However, the downside is that if your acquaintance is in a bad mood then you will be also. Now the future of social networks, Facebook in particular, will hinge on how quickly and effectively it can calculate a user’s emotional state and how it changes over time. Thanks to US Patent Application 2013/0144937 we have some insight into how social networks will make the user experience more symbiotic.

Calculating Emotion State and Emotion Rate

Inventor Ho-Sub Lee of Samsung Co. realized social networks could mitigate negative responses to social network posts by taking a measure of a user’s emotion rate, which determines the negativity or positivity of a user based on past actions and posts. Along with reducing negative interactions, this system also increase positive responses by increasing the chances that someone with a positive emotion rate views the post. They can create a cesspool of misery or utopia of love inside a virtual universe. Further making the virtual universe indistinguishable from the real-world.

How  Lee’s Machine Shares Your Emotions

Patent ‘937 mentions two methods for sharing methods. One method comprises four main steps: (1) classifying a user’s emotional state (2) calculating a user’s emotion rate (3) calculating the change in a user’s emotional rate and (4) transmitting the change in emotional rate to a terminal where the data can be processed. The other method also comprises four main steps: (1) receiving a change in a user’s emotion rate, (2) extracting emotion transmitting terminal, (3) extracting the emotion receiving terminal and (4) transmitting the emotion information.

The Wrap Up

Whether the ‘937 Patent Application will make people more empathetic and symbiotic is yet to be seen. Hopefully, this technology with promote positive emotions and curtail the malaise and depression that is on the rise today. Samsung patented this machine and system in June 2013. So, hopefully, we can see social networks rolling out the Emotional Contagion Experiment 2.0.

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/gregorymcneal/2014/06/28/facebook-manipulated-user-news-feeds-to-create-emotional-contagion/#22a80f039dc7

[2] http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.full

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Written by ipbanker