Speed Reads

The future has arrived

Mood-sensing apps have disturbing Big Brother implications

Dima Korotayev/Getty Images

A Tel Aviv-based company is preparing to debut Moodies, an emotion-sensing smartphone app. Users speak a few words into the microphone and the app uses an algorithm based on pitch, timing, volume, pauses, and energy to gauge the speaker's emotional state.

Though the app itself is intended to be playful (an emoticon is assigned to a user's mood), the technology is also being developed with more serious applications in mind. One developer is pitching "honesty maintenance" software to human resources departments to detect interviewees' fibs. Developers also say their software could be used to screen airline passengers, keep tabs on employees, and detect fraud, according to The Wall Street Journal.