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New facial-scanning technology knows what you really think about TV shows

New facial-scanning technology knows what you really think about TV shows
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

TV broadcasting companies have a tough time knowing their audiences. The almighty show ratings are based on measurements and self-reporting from a small group of people. Even then, the company doesn't know whether or not the people watching actually enjoyed a particular episode. The same goes for how successful a particular ad is.

A company called CrowdEmotion thinks it has a solution. It uses cameras to watch your face and figure out which one of six emotions you're feeling: sadness, puzzlement, happiness, fear, rejection or surprise.

Using that information, a broadcasting or marketing company can tell what you really thought of an ad or TV show. That's more revealing than what people often say they think, or just relying on things like how long someone spent looking at something.

The BBC decided to test out CrowdEmotion's technology with two trial studies. The first looked at 5,000 people using the BBC website to see what they really thought about specific marketing campaigns. The second put cameras in the living rooms of 200 British families to see what they really thought of shows like "Sherlock."

The BBC says it got plenty of valuable information from the project, and it's looking to expand the system to more homes and countries. It hopes it can improve its marketing and programming, or better steer people toward shows they'll enjoy.

Naturally, having cameras in the living room makes some people worried that the BBC is going to spy on them, or at least keep tabs on how often they watch TV. However, the BBC claims it's only interested in people's emotions.

If this system is successful for the BBC, you can bet other analysis and broadcasting companies will start adopting it. Would you have one of these systems in your home? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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