Has Sony been playing with our emotions? Not really, but they are definitely planning to as the Japanese company has patented what they are calling the "PlayStation emotion tracker". This will be a device that will monitor gamers' reactions while playing.
The device will apparently use a filter system to monitor in-game voice chat and automatically exclude negativity, which might include various swear words, angry rants, bullying language and hate speech. The system will include a personal "emotional profile" of each user, as to provide specific moderation rules in response to their emotional states.
The filter also comes with the intention of moderating users for repeated messages of bullying or violence. Players might be punished for violating moderation rules, thus losing their access to the in-voice chat. Alternatively, the system might also come with the idea of "neutralizing" the tone of angry messages by filtering them and presenting them in a neutral way.
Sony Interactive Entertainment's patent might have the potential of completely changing the landscape of communication in online multiplayer video games, thus solving the problem of bullying and offensive messages. Naturally, this is a system that will require a lot of work by the company to be presented in such a way to be efficient. Human emotions are not as black and white as a 0/1 in machine code and present many nuances that might be difficult to get for a "automatic filter".
This does not seem to be an entirely new idea, as apparently Electronic Arts had already presented a similar patent in 2022. So, while the idea is overall interesting and might lead to subsequent discoveries, this is just the start of a long road by Sony to be able to actually implement a working system that might be efficiently used in online chats.
For now, you can be free to swear away with no problem, but soon you might be arguing with your PlayStation as you might with a friend that you did not mean that at all. Scary times!
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