Cape Town - A new technology that analyses facial expressions could help
companies determine what consumers are thinking and help them plan more
"It's been used in the [United] States for
more than 13 years by Fortune 500 companies; there're also case studies
that prove that it works," Brandon Bester, co-founder of Neural Sense
The technology is roughly examined as a plot device in the TV crime drama Lie to Me, starring Tim Roth as Dr Cal Lightman.
But the science behind the technology is sound, and is indicative of the earliest steps in human evolution, said Bester.
you think about it, before human beings had spoken words or written
communication to express the way that we feel, the way that we've
evolved to communicate with each other was via our facial expressions."
use the facial recognition technology to gauge how customers respond to
particular adverting campaigns and may lead to more targeted and
Bester said that the technology is legal in
SA and may give companies an edge to target advertising to a
demographic that may find it most appealing.
"In fact, it is probably preferable for a business to use techniques like this when testing their advertising."
rejected suggestions that the practice was unethical and said that it
would allow companies to enhance their multi-platform communications
"We take the approach that we're trying to improve the communication that business send out to customers," said Bester.
are no plans to roll out facial recognition technology to TV and
computer screens, ATMs, and public touch panels to gauge what the public
is thinking as in the book 1984 by George Orwell.
Bester said that the technology augments personal intuition about a conversation partner.
human emotion is very important and to a degree we are all facial
coders. If you and I are chatting in person, you can probably tell if
I'm deceiving you because you can tell whether I'm giving you a true
smile or rather a social smile.
"What this technology does is it
essentially takes those principles and utilises them in a scientific way
to improve a customer's advertising," he said.
works across racial, gender and cultural boundaries so it should be able
to concluded effective results despite unique backgrounds.
expressions are universal, so regardless of gender; race, so that
technology can work across gender and racial borders," said Bester.
he declined to indicate whether any technology is able to provide men
with additional insight into what women are thinking.
"As men we
can still read the female expressions, but when comes to digging deeper
into the female brain, that requires an extra bit of talent."