This all started two days ago when I got alerted to one news issue and shortly thereafter to something entirely different. Let’s start with the news, you see, the news I got was rather extreme, even for the average judgement in criminal law. You see, it all started with the mere headline ‘Prisoner jailed for 45 years over letters threatening to kill people‘ which was a bit much. For example in the Netherlands when you drive and kill a 2 year old and in addition kill the grandparents, you get 120 hours of community service. At 8 hours a day that is a mere 3 weeks, if you work the weekends too, 2 weeks is all you have to suffer. So when I read 45 years I tend to wake up and really wonder what a person needs to do to get 45 years. Mainly because killing children or committing treason no longer gets you anything to that degree.
The issue was given in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/dec/14/inmate-jailed-for-45-years-over-letters-threatening-to-kill-people). The issue is clearly seen in the quote: “A prison inmate who wrote a series of letters from his cell threatening to kill 10 people, including prison staff and police officers, and then have sex with their corpses has been jailed for 45 years“. Consider the following two quotes; the first one is “Heath said the maximum sentence for an offence of making a threat to kill was 10 years’ imprisonment“, the second one is “The judge said he was trying to balance the need to protect and the need to ensure that the sentence was not “wholly disproportionate to your criminality”“, which it clearly seems to be. You see, no matter what the convicted man wanted. Either never to leave prison or to get the limelight. Basically the man committed psychic assault and there would be a consequence to that, yet the line between 10 years and 45 years is massive. You see we have no idea what that person would have been like after 10 years. So how come that 45 years is suddenly an option? Only because of the quote “The judge Michael Heath, passing sentence at Lincoln crown court on Monday, described the long jail term as highly unusual and said the case had caused him “very considerable anxiety”“, so the judge got anxious? That makes the case clearly a loaded canon on several fronts, not to mention the dangers of after overturn costs when the appellant court would consider the verdict to be disproportionate. So what makes this case such an issue for me? You see, the quote I overstepped earlier was “Ford wrote a series of letters from his cell at Nottingham prison in which he identified people – including prison officers, a fellow inmate, a district judge, a police officer and a former partner“, what if the letters to the police officer and the district judge were the reason for the over inflated verdict? If that is regarded and those from the established order of jurisprudential would be the reason our verdicts become a lot more severe, we would be walking a very dangerous tightrope, one with long term consequences. Now do not get me wrong, the man is guilty, that was established, yet from 10 to 45 years is a massive leap. So now we get to the good stuff, because there is more, there always is. The fact that we need to consider “he had been assessed by a number of psychiatrists but there was no recommendation he receive hospital treatment“. So why not? The fact that the psychiatrists did not recommend hospital treatment implies that either he is not that crazy or other elements are not getting the illumination they need. Would that be a fair assessment of the situation? It might be even darker and the man has a split personality, all complications that might divert from a successful diagnoses, all still giving pause to the need of 45 years, no matter the level of creepiness that this mental health case is showing to be.
You see, this issue and it is a real issue is only part of it. In almost the same timeframe I got news of something entirely different. It is something fresh and new from Cornell (at https://tech.cornell.edu/news/this-smartphone-keyboard-app-can-read-your-emotions). The headline ‘This Smartphone Keyboard App Can Read Your Emotions‘ is a lot more interesting than you think it is. The quote “Keymochi uses data like typing speed, punctuation changes, the amount of phone movement, distance between keys, and a user’s rough sentiment analysis to detect emotions“, might seem to be an average achievement, it is not. I think it is an optional invention for something a lot bigger than the makers envisioned. The quote “To protect privacy, Keymochi does not store what is typed, just how it is typed—the physical cues and the sentiment analysis from PAM” gives us the initial goods, the larger prize is given by “So far, the app is able to predict emotions with 82 percent accuracy“, now consider that this is not on a smartphone, but on a tablet. What if this app is adjusted to aid the psychiatrist that possibly failed in this case and now gets to deal with additional data and evidence? What if this app could enable additional emotional data? Consider that this is the first generation where the bulk of action is no longer done with goose feather and ink jar, but with the keyboard. Our auto acceptance of pretty much every keyboard gives an interesting consideration on the valid honesty that we give our as we take out our frustration and denied inner considerations to a keyboard. Let’s not forget that an initial 82% accuracy is not a bad result at all.
Yet the original intent as it was designed by the three Cornell Tech students, Hsiao-Ching Lin, Huai-Che Lu, and Claire Opila was to detect emotions, which is what we knew, yet their application is that as a user is typing out a text message or email via smartphone, each movement adds to an emotional profile of the user. In addition, users can select one of 16 pictures to indicate their mood by using a photographic affect meter. Which is brilliant in its own right, so that the issue we have seen for too long in auto fix and auto correct in android so as we see “even when a message is communicated in complete sentences, we often misjudge the author’s intentions and current emotional state” it makes perfect sense, because the bulk of us, have all experienced the weird response when we were trying to type something funny, or just a little sarcasm, which got the response like we had slapped that friend with a 9-Iron at maximum effort. So the pictures would be a great help, especially as the receiving party gets the message “you doing the munchies again?” with a picture of a laughing chipmunk. Yet as I read the article, I just saw a whole range of possibilities growing from within the system itself. The upcoming art/science of digital diagnosis might be in the early stages, yet as we see the overload of data and responses we face in the 5G universe that is about to arrive, these tools will present an exponential need, not just on a consumer level, but on the level of the tool creators who want to give their consumer that little bit extra. In that regard the timing of these three students could not be better and I feel certain that they have a decent clear path towards exceptional growth. Yet as stated before, I feel equally certain that the scope of applicability of this tool goes a lot further then perhaps even they realised, which is just a lovely layer of icing on the cake.
In addition, when we look at one final part, the part on how their app could interact with domotics and automated mood parameter transfer as Google Home envisions it, is only the start of the large cake they could be serving a massive interested audience.