Strange are the ways of technology and dubious its reasons as Nintendo patents quality of life on your ceiling, literally. That is, a device designed to monitor your sleep, wake you up, and display a sit rep, or sleep rep, on you ceiling after you open your eyes.
How does this sound, really?
Very, very interesting or very, very creepy? Surely, the benefits of a device designed to monitor your emotions are endless. You could better understand them and even restrain them, like a true Vulcan. Then again, they implications could be also extremely worrying. Could it monitor discomfort? Could it sense when you are dissatisfied with the system and feel like you want to start a protest?
This technology, if it exists, could have many unethical applications.
But how could a simple device that fits on your nightstand understand your emotions? Well, it does so by recording via a microphone the strange sounds you make within your sleep. Even if you talk in your sleep. Or snore. It could also record images of you sleeping. Then, these samples would be sent to Nintendo’s super smart super computers, which would analyze (probably through an algorithm and not manually) patterns and it would eventually know when you have slept well, and when you haven’t.
This all seems increasingly too much, doesn’t it?
The prospect of having computers monitor the sleep of hundreds of thousands, provably millions of people is worrying, to say the least. This could easily turn into a social experiment and from there, the socialist dystopia of Nineteen-eighty-four isn’t that far.
But some are still optimistic that this device patent is a good thing. It looks just like a smartphone dock, and it probably is, although Nintendo fail to specify whether the device is a smartphone or another specific device.
Forbes has reviewed the idea of this device and has said that the possible applications of an emotion tracking device in gaming are endless. For instance, if could trigger certain specific events in horror games if you’re not scared enough. Or it could gather information on what makes gamers feel happy. Or it could reduce the difficulty level in a game if you’re continuously losing. Still this could prompt criticism.
Further speculating says that maybe the device will come as a companion to the next Nintendo Gaming Console, the NX, which is said will replace the Wii.
However cool this may sound, the ethical dilemmas that arise could easily be subjects of endless debates.
Image source: eurogamer.net