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With Web 5.0, the web is going to get a lot more personal.
We’ve previously discussed how the web has transitioned from a Web 1.0 of static pages to a Web 3.0 powered by AI and Big Data. While predictions of Web 4.0 focus on a symbiotic web that blurs the interaction between man and machine, we can also imagine further what a Web 5.0, maybe.
No matter how advanced the web has become, we have yet to create artificial intelligence that can empathize with its user. But that goal may be closer to reality than we think.
This article will look into the promising aspects of the emotive web. We’ll explore how the current state of the web interacts with our emotions and look into some challenges we may face when building the next step of the web.
What is Web 5.0?
Web 5.0 has been predicted to be the rise of the emotive web. Imagine if your devices knew how you were feeling when you used them. Think of a world where humans and machines interacted as equals.
The emotive internet is a concept that has been in development for quite some time, though it may not be as obvious as you may think.
The Internet has already allowed people to share their emotions much more deeply with the rise of video conferencing applications. Soon, virtual reality will allow us to seamlessly interact with people as if they were across a table from us.
This is one of the promises of the emotive web.
Besides enriching communication between users, Web 5.0 hopes to bridge a gap between humans and machines.
At some level, we’ve already begun to consider the internet to be an emotional recipient.
We “like” articles and videos, and we have the option to give content we disagree with a “thumbs down”. We implicitly know that these reactions feed into an algorithm that slowly becomes tailored towards you.
Much like a friendship that grows the more you interact, a machine-user relationship becomes more personal in time.
We’ve already started to see virtual assistants that are trained to recognize our voices. What if they start to keep track of our emotions as well?
Emotion-sensing technology may yet create an even more personalized experience when interacting with the web. Wearable devices that try to sense a user’s emotional profile are already being developed. Facial and speech recognition algorithms are being trained to understand the mood of your expression and the tone of your voice.
If android assistants were to become commonplace, it would make sense for their programming to have the ability to sense the emotions of their users.
The main goal of Web 5.0, to create an emotive and sensory web, can be studied and developed in the interdisciplinary field of affective computing. Affective computing combines computer science, psychology, and cognitive science to look into how technology can be given emotional intelligence.
A machine with emotional intelligence may understand humans at a more fundamental level. Roles that require empathy and an understanding of human emotion may benefit from artificial intelligence that can understand humans as well as a human might.
Here are some possible applications of affective computing that may be possible with the rise of Web 5.0.
In the field of virtual healthcare, patients can benefit from the use of emotive web technologies.
Smart sensory health devices can be connected to the existing Internet of Things network to help diagnose and monitor a patient’s wellbeing. IoT technology can be an effective way to process health data with minimal human intervention.
Doctors and physicians can use emotive web technology to remotely assess anxiety, emotional distress, and other mental health disorders.
Emotional AI can be implemented in emergency call centers to handle conversations in real-time. AI can be used alongside wearable devices to monitor patients who struggle with depression, stress, or anxiety.
Affective computing technology can be used to recognize a student’s facial expression to judge their learning state.
Imagine a robot who can sense an expression of confusion or a moment of clarity. Breakthroughs are already being made where neural networks can understand facial expressions with up to 96% accuracy.
Distance education can also benefit from effective computing technology.
The lack of in-person contact can certainly affect the learning process of students. A teacher may be able to detect students feeling confusion, frustration, or excitement in a real classroom setting, but may struggle in a remote teaching situation.
Affective computing can also benefit users through entertainment such as video games or music.
Future technology may focus on sensing and recognizing the player’s emotions. The video game can then use that feedback to modify the game to improve their experience.
For example, the video game Nevermind uses biofeedback technology such as a heart rate sensor and a webcam to create an experience that is shaped by how you respond to stressful situations.
Imagine video games that can detect boredom, excitement, or frustration. Video games can use emotive data to further improve the gameplay experience.
Challenges for Web 5.0
As emotional technology reaches new breakthroughs, it will be a challenge to make sure that these advancements follow ethical lines.
Different cultures express emotions differently. Feelings are not as universal as you might think. Facial expressions may not necessarily correlate to someone’s emotional state. Researchers must be careful when creating technology that relies on these external factors to determine mood.
Imagine an AI that handles job interviews or visa applications. Should these technologies be allowed to use emotion detection technology to make decisions that can drastically affect someone’s access to opportunity?
Another challenge for the emotive web is the handling of data. Much like the health data collected by devices such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch, emotive data must remain private and protected.
Considering how tech companies and advertisers have already taken advantage of personal online activity such as web searches and GPS tracking, lawmakers must make sure that data collected from the emotive web is protected from abuse.
We can all agree that a major trend in technology is personalization. Websites are no longer the same for everyone anymore. Based on how we use services like YouTube or Facebook, we can all get different experiences out of it.
The emotive web, if fully realized, will give how we interact with technology a total paradigm shift. Fields that require a certain level of emotional connection, such as healthcare and education, may use emotional AI to help even more people.
On the other hand, we should also be wary of the ethical and security issues that come with sharing such personal information. The web may soon act as a friend, but even friends can take advantage of you.
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