Computers that intuitively understand and respond to your body language? The idea is pretty out there but it’s not new. You might have heard it called ubiquitous or ambient computing.
This functionality means a device would read the user’s body language to pick up intent, and then respond accordingly, just as a human would with another human. Good examples are your device automatically pausing the movie you’re watching when you leave the couch, or bringing up your emails for you as you come near. Spooky, right?
It might come as no surprise then that the company leading the charge in ubiquitous or ambient computing is the all-seeing, all-knowing Google. Who else?
Google is using the science of proxemics to understand personal space and how humans respect and interact within in it, and advancing its Soli radar sensor which we’ve seen in Nest Hub for sleep tracking, for example. The goal is to interact with our devices without touching them.
According to an article in Fast Company, “Soli sees your body as nothing more than a blob. But through the right lens, this blob has inertia, posture, and a gaze—all of the things we constantly size up when we interact with other people.”
Leonardo Giusti, Head of Design at Google’s Advanced Technology & Projects (ATAP) Lab says, “As this technology gets more present in our life, it’s fair to ask tech to take a few more cues from us,” says Giusti. “The same way a partner would tell you to grab an umbrella on the way out [the door on a rainy day], a thermostat by the door could do the same thing.”
We find the idea of computers reading body language intriguing and have no doubt it will come to fruition. But we also find the idea that Google is designing computers that respect personal space highly amusing when we all know the tech giant doesn’t even respect personal data.
As privacy commentator Techni-Calli (@Iwillleavenow) said on Twitter: “Google is designing computers that respect* your personal space”
*by completely invading your personal space, obliterating your privacy, and tracking your every move.
As the old saying goes, what will they think of next?
Photo by ProximaCentauri1