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Pending Apple Patent For 'Inferring User Mood' 79

Posted by Soulskill
from the infers-that-you're-irritated-by-having-your-mood-inferred dept.
theodp writes: "Apple has recently disclosed a pending patent for Inferring User Mood Based on User and Group Characteristic Data, which has received surprisingly scant attention from the press even though it ups the ante for privacy intrusion. The brainchild of iAd team members, Apple boasts its invention will make it possible to 'charge a higher rate for mood based content delivery' by scrutinizing 'channel characteristics, demographic characteristics, behavioral characteristics, spatial-temporal characteristics, and mood-associated characteristics.' Apple further explains: 'Mood-associated physical characteristics can include heart rate; blood pressure; adrenaline level; perspiration rate; body temperature; vocal expression, e.g. voice level, voice pattern, voice stress, etc.; movement characteristics; facial expression; etc. Mood-associated behavioral characteristics can include sequence of content consumed, e.g. sequence of applications launched, rate at which the user changed applications, etc.; social networking activities, e.g. likes and/or comments on social media; user interface (UI) actions, e.g. rate of clicking, pressure applied to a touch screen, etc.; and/or emotional response to previously served targeted content. Mood-associated spatial-temporal characteristics can include location, date, day, time, and/or day part. The mood-associated characteristics can also include data regarding consumed content, such as music genre, application category, ESRB and/or MPAA rating, consumption time of day, consumption location, subject matter of the content, etc. In some cases, a user terminal can be equipped with hardware and/or software that facilitates the collection of mood-associated characteristic data. For example, a user terminal can include a sensor for detecting a user's heart rate or blood pressure. In another example, a user terminal can include a camera and software that performs facial recognition to detect a user's facial expressions.' Your move, Google!"
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Pending Apple Patent For 'Inferring User Mood'

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  • by Theaetetus (590071) <{theaetetus.slashdot} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday February 01, 2014 @12:54PM (#46128641) Homepage Journal

    Your Move Patent Office. Are they trying to patent an idea again?

    Well, yeah, that's what patents are for.

    More precisely, an overly broad, idea that would be fairly trivial to implement using existing hardware.

    A steam engine is pretty easy to build. Hell, you can 3D print one at home now. Does that mean they should never have been patentable? Difficulty of implementation has never been a requirement for patentability in the statutes... if you disagree with that, then contact Congress, not the patent office, because only the legislature can add a new requirement.

    Given that, do they have even a working implementation?

    Most likely, but even if they don't, prototypes haven't been required for decades. That's a good thing - it makes it easier for small inventors with brilliant ideas but no capital to get protection for their invention and then sell it to large companies who have the ability to implement it. Say, for example, you come up with a great idea for a new, super-efficient and secure file system architecture. Are you going to write your own OS? And try to make it in the marketplace as a brand new OS, competing with Apple and Microsoft? You'd never get past .01% market share. But if you could sell it to one of them and it gets implemented in their next OS release, your idea would get used by a much greater portion of the population. Isn't this a good thing for society?

    These are real questions, I haven't read TFA. These are the kind of patents that need to stop though.

    How do you know, if you haven't read TFA? We already know that you're wrong about the requirement for difficulty of implementation, the requirement of prototypes, and the requirement that something not be an idea. Why should we think you're right when you haven't even read the article?

    Copyright the implementation of your algorithm and move on.

    Copyright will protect you from people making exact copies of your algorithm, from your source code. If they reverse engineer it and remake it - like say one of those OS companies and your file system architecture - it's not copyright infringement. Copyright only protects things where having the specific thing is important - it protects movies, because you want to see "The Hulk", and not the Mockbuster "Angry Green Man" knockoff, or you want to rent "Drop Kick Panda" instead of "Chop Kick Panda". It protects art because you want a Warhol original, not the selfie I just took of me holding a soup can. It protects books because you want OSC's "Ender's Game" and not "Fighting Kids in Space".

    But it doesn't protect software, because you don't really care about the specific thing, you want the general concept - you don't care whether you use TaxAct or TurboTax; you don't care if you play Farmville or Farmtown; or Tiny Tower vs. Dream Heights; or Candy Crush Saga vs. Candy Link Epic. It's only useful where someone is locked into a particular implementation due to lack of compatibility - you have to use Microsoft Word because you keep getting .doc files with proprietary formatting, etc. And those are bad things for consumers.

    Basically, copyright is useless for most developers, unless they're leveraging a monopoly power to lock people into their software.

  • Dude. Seriously. (Score:4, Informative)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @03:22PM (#46129527)

    Ok, look. I know it's popular on Slashdot, especially with some submitters, to paint certain companies in as negative a light as possible and Apple is one of those companies but, good gawd, this is NOT NEWS!!

    Here's a pro tip - companies the size of Apple, who invest billions (let me say that again - BILLIONS) of dollars into R&D also file for a LOT of patents. A vast majority (by a very wide margin) go nowhere other than the filing cabinet. They are patented because someone came up with an invention and, well, we live in a world where you patent inventions. Apple does it. Google does it. Microsoft does it. IBM. Samsung. HTC. The list goes on and on and on.

    Implying that anything nefarious is happening because of one patent filing is absolutely, over the top, useless. If you are doing it for one company, you are very clearly and obviously trolling because, like I said, THEY ALL DO IT. I guarantee - I am willing to bet a year's salary - that if you look at every patent filing from the top 20 tech companies, you will find a notable number which are "nefarious" or "alarming".

    In other words, THIS ISN'T NEWS. I don't care if it's Apple or Google or Samsung or whatever company you'd care to name. Filing a patent is not news. IMPLEMENTING a patent is news. Filing one is just business as usual.

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