Can a mind-reading computer give us discount car insurance?

According to a joint team of scientists from MIT and Cambridge, we may soon be able to find discount car insurance thanks to their computer programme that can read minds.

The highly advanced piece of software can detect what people are thinking by watching their expression, as it monitors 24 individual ‘feature points’ on a subject’s face, enabling it to follow the expressions of users and take educated guesses at the subject’s current mood.  In some instances the computer could even tell if the subject was agreeing with it – or if it was cross with it.

There are many commercial applications to an emotionally aware computer, said one computer technology professor.  The professor said that a world where vehicles, motor car insurance websites, and mobile phones could actively interpret your moods correctly and then react in an appropriate manner, could just be around the corner – especially when a computer could choose the right moment when you’re emotionally ready to be told about a new product or service.

Right now, driver safety is the first application the team of scientists is exploring.  The first step is observing subjects whilst they are driving in order to record their facial movements, which is inherently harder than trying to track someone’s emotions whilst speaking over the phone or even face to face.

However, if this particular nut is cracked, the face recognition software could have many potential uses to prevent accidents and improve driver safety.  One major car company is currently working with the team, and the technology could possibly be featured in cars as soon as five years from now, which could lead to less expensive car insurance rates for the drivers of these cars.

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