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Amazon has a patent on technology that allows Alexa to analyse your voice to determine whether you are ill or depressed. Based on your physical or emotional condition, Alexa can sell you products. The patent was applied for in March 2017 and was granted this week.

The patent describes a voice assistant who can recognize an abnormal physical or emotional state. In order to be able to determine this situation, the assistant must, among other things, listen to whether a user has a sore throat, or is coughing a lot. The emotional state is also taken into account, which can be done by means of the voice input. A coughing, sniffing or even crying user may indicate that someone has a specific physical or emotional abnormality.

Targeted offers

It is not certain which offers should be made based on the emotional state of a user. At the same time, for example, cough syrup may be offered when a user is sneezing around a lot. The physical and/or emotional state of the user could facilitate the ability to create highly targeted audio content, such as audio ads or offers.

If it is determined that someone may have a sore throat, or a cold, Alexa could ask if a user would like to have cough syrup delivered within an hour. After the order has been placed, the assistant will give a confirmation as well as the comment to get better.

Privacy concerns

Amazon’s patent might provide privacy concerns. After all, the question is what could be done with the knowledge of the emotional or physical condition of a user. In theory, these data could be sold on to health insurers or the pharmaceutical industry.

That Amazon would like to take the technology pretty far is clear from the patent. The company not only wants to analyze the emotional and physical state of a user, but also to take into account the browsing and purchasing history. In this way, it should be determined which offers are the most relevant for a specific user. At the same time, it is important to note that companies are more likely to receive patents that they do not use. So there is no guarantee whatsoever that Amazon will actually bring the technology to Alexa.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.