Several folks have spotted a Microsoft patent application
for technology that would target advertisements based on a user’s emotions. In reading the first lines of the patent, it seems as though tracking a those emotions would be done through monitoring a user’s online activity--such as Web browsing, the content of visited websites, emails, IMs, and more--and analyzing the content.
As invasive and creepy as that sounds, bear in mind that because of social networks and other online interactions we engage in, we already receive targeted ads all the time. (Frankly, it's kind of nice sometimes to see an ad for, say, NFL Sunday Ticket instead of one for denture cream.) Besides, it’s not as if there’s a machine in our homes that will watch us, capture images of us, and analyze our emotions, because--oh wait, that’s exactly what the rest of the patent application describes.
The next several lines in the application spell out how the “computer-implemented method” (which is clearly just Kinect) would capture facial expressions and identify speech patterns and body movements and then store the “emotional state of the user in a database”. Kinect will then compile the data with other targeting criteria such as your age, gender, and location.
Perhaps you won’t ever get comfortable with having your Kinect watching you at all times (for example, is it OK to change clothes in front of it?), but at least you’ll have a friend who’s always thinking of your emotional state and will suggest products and services that are just what the doctor ordered.