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Apple Acquires Facial-Recognition Startup Emotient

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Apple has purchased Emotient Inc., a startup that has created an artificially intelligent computer that is able to read emotions by looking at the subject's face.

It's not yet clear exactly what Apple plans on doing with the new tech, which has been largely sold and used by advertisers to help gauge emotions that people feel in response to their ads.

Image recognition is becoming increasingly important among Silicon Valley companies, with competitors Facebook and Google investing huge amounts of money in systems powered by artificial intelligence.

Emotient in particular uses a type of artificial intelligence called deep learning, which involves training neural networks using large amounts of data, and then directing the network to make inferences about new data. So, in the case of Emotient, millions upon millions of images and videos were likely fed to the network showing different emotions and facial expressions.

"Emotient's technology not only captures these single frame expressions, but does so in the face of obstacles such as poor lighting, consumer-grade webcams, [and] facial occlusions such as eyeglasses and facial hair. It also achieves this level of accuracy for multiple faces in a frame, potentially up to hundreds of faces in a 1080p video," said the startup's website, which has since been taken down.

The company recently held a round of investing worth $8 million from investors that include Intel Capital. It was seeking a new round of investment, however, it was unable to secure one.

Only time will tell how Apple incorporates Emotient, but it could be to develop a smarter Siri that is able to detect what the user is feeling.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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