TBS Newsbot

Future tech will track our feelings through our carbon emissions: Expert

According to one expert, the corporations of tomorrow will be able to track and analyse our feelings through the carbon we emit. Move over, Facebook.


Well. It seems that fearfully duct taping your camera, mind reeling with lurid fantasies what those Californian data scrapers Facebook either has on you is now passe. Last week is seemingly an eon in the world of paranoia. Adjust your tinfoil hats my pedigree chums, as it seems the actual virtual reality is actually far worse.

According to the awesomely named chief scientist at Dolby Labs, Poppy Crum, it seems that new tech could soon make it absolutely possible for companies and institutions alike to track our emotions and general health. Put it simply, it seems our own bodies are selling us out, as we’re excreting trackable data.

During her presentation at the TED Conference in Vancouver, Crum took the jam out of every collected cronut in the audience, first by displaying a data visualisation of the carbon dioxide exhaled by people in the theatre, and second, that she had been tracking it. “You can see where some of us jumped as a deep red cloud. It’s our collective suspense creating a spike in CO2,” she said.



According to Crum, this flavour of passive data collection could one day be used as a mental taste test to pretty much anyone who possesses it. Teachers, doctors, corporations. Whoever.

Like all great and terrible things, Crum believes it to be a force for the greater good, and all that is true.

“Imagine a high-school counsellor realising that outwardly cheery student is having a hard time…or the authorities knowing the difference between a mental health crisis and another kind of aggression,” she said.

Later re-iterating her point to Business Insider, Crum said that: “…today’s talk was about sensors in the world that can pick things up without our agency. There are so many opportunities right now for tech to know these things about us, and it’s not always bad.”

Yah-huh. For what it’s worth, Crum understands that the challenges to keep this technology from being fleeced and used for ill are titanic. As an advocate for regulation, Crum stated: “Your devices will know more about you than you will,” she said. “I believe we need to think about how could be used.”

Cool. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to anonymously purchase an apartment-scale oxygen tent.