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Spotify Wins Patent to Snoop on User’s Voice to Gauge ‘Emotional State’

Published: January 30, 2021
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Music streaming service Spotify has won a patent that will enable it to snoop on users’ speech and “background noise” in order to choose songs that best suit the listener’s “emotional state.”

Yes, really.

“Spotify has received a patent that will allow it to use speech recognition and sound analysis to assess a user’s demographic attributes, determine their emotional state, and even glean insight into their location,” reports RT. “The information will be used – hypothetically, at least – to pick the perfect song to play without requiring any conscious data input from the listener.”

Spotify applied for the patent back in February 2018 but it was quietly approved earlier this month.

In addition to demographic information, the technology will also scan for “intonation, stress, rhythm and the likes of units of speech” to determine the user’s mood. It will also be able to pick up ambient background noise in order to determine whether the user it at a party, using public transport or on a rural walk.

The technology will utilize the user’s emotional response to tweak its algorithm and perform better suited song suggestions in pursuit of a “positive metadata/emotional state.”

Spotify secured another patent back in October called “methods and systems for personalizing user experience based on [user] personality traits,” while also publishing a paper in July that detailed its plans “to link streaming behavior with brain scanning, genetic, and physiological data.”

The use of in-built microphones of cellphones to spy on users is by no means a brand new technology.

Android and Apple users are routinely asked to give permission to apps enabling them to access cellphone mics.

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