Hey, remember that scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise is walking intensely and all those cameras keep reading his face and giving him personalized ads? Good news: That technology is practically here! Better news: The applications are even more terrifying than Steven Spielberg predicted! Yes, we're pretending to excited, because if the machines can tell we're actually afraid, they'll probably add us to their shit list. So make sure you keep a fake smile frozen on your face as you read about bizarrely dystopian face-reading inventions, such as ...
6 A Robot That Follows You, Reads Your Emotions, And Tries To Change Them
Behold, the pet of the future: A tiny robot named Jimmy that follows you around, constantly asking whether or not you want it to sing to you. Right now, Jimmy belongs to Intel's CTO of Perceptual Computing, Dr. Achin Bhowmik, and his primary function seems to be walking around looking concerned all the time. It's like something you'd see in a Douglas Adams novel ... or out of a sci-fi horror movie, if you actually know how he works.
Jimmy uses built-in 3D sensing technology, meaning that he sees the world the way we do -- or would, if we were a T-800. He's designed to map your face with 3D cameras and make judgments based on what kind of expression you seem to be making. "People have 3D sensing, so the robot should have 3D sensing like us," Bhowmik said, confirming that he never got around to watching Battlestar Galactica. "It will recognize you, read your emotions. 'Why are you sad today? Should I sing you a song?'" If you have resting bitch-face, you're going to hear that one a lot.
Songs include "Thus Spoke Zarathustra," "Daisy Bell," and "You Could Be Mine."
Oh, and Jimmy's technology is open source and can be 3D printed, which means that in theory, the machines could learn how to make these bastards en masse when the uprising comes. We take it all back, Jimmy. You're great.
5 Motorola's E-Tattoo Will Interpret Your Thoughts Before They Come Out Of Your Mouth
Admittedly, this one is stuck to the throat, not the face, but it's dystopian as hell. In fact, it's like autocorrect for your mouth, and it's permanent -- or as permanent as a tattoo, anyway (you can always cut your arm off). The idea behind Motorola's e-tattoo is that you will be able to communicate with your smart devices without having to speak, like teenagers deep in love or X-Men. The tattoo intercepts thoughts that your brain hasn't given your face full permission to spit out, meaning that simple throat motions could be enough to give orders to your devices.
"Whatever, as long as I no longer have to talk to Siri."
So how the hell does it work? When you have an inner monologue, your brain still sends neural signals to your vocal cords, just in case you suddenly decide you want to talk to someone other than yourself. It's called "covert speech," and the only thing that keeps it from being regular speech is that it doesn't fully trigger the required muscles. According to the patent, the e-tattoo intercepts and digitizes these auditory signals, which is kinda creepy ... but not the creepiest part of all this.
The patent, which serendipitously came out right around the time Edward Snowden's NSA exposure did, suggests that the tattoo could be used to "detect skin resistance of a user," allowing you to tell if that person is "engaging in speaking falsehoods" or is a "truth telling individual." Who the hell wrote that? A S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist? No, but the closest thing we have -- as it happens, the head of Motorola's Advanced Technology and Projects group is Regina Dugan, once the head of DARPA. Does this mean we're gonna start giving free neck tattoos to Guantanamo residents and the like?
United States Patent and Trademark Office
If you get it as a tramp stamp instead, it can predict oncoming farts.
The patent helpfully mentions that the tattoo can also be applied to animals, which might be an Orwell shout-out we're not getting. We haven't heard much from the developers since the patent was introduced a couple of years ago, so it may be a while before we (and our pets) all become tattooed psychic cyborgs.