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Can your phone really tell how you’re feeling?

Tech > Can your phone really tell how you’re feeling?

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The answer is yes… from your typos!

11 January 2022, 3:45 PM

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We rely on our phones for almost everything. They’re our constant companions, always by our side, there whenever we need them. From staying connected to our friends and family, to keeping up to date on what’s happening around the world and finding out anything we need to know at a click of a button. But what if we could add diagnosing mental health issues to that list too?

Apple is exploring software that can figure out if someone is suffering from mental illness by the way they use their gadgets. There’s a lot of hearsay about depression, anxiety and mental health being linked to use of a smartphone, and now, future iPhones may be able to diagnose these things just by looking at your typos. You’re now thinking about how many typos you make on a daily basis, aren’t you?

We’re talking about mental health more and more in modern society, and depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses worldwide, with approximately 280 million people in the world suffering from it. And just like with any illness, getting an early medical diagnosis and treatment is best, as it can help reduce the intensity of symptoms or help them to last a much shorter time – resulting in a lot less pain and debilitation overall

It’s known that things like depression can lead to different patterns of smartphone use. Alongside monitoring users’ mobility and sleep pattern, researchers hope that analysing how users’ type could reveal insights into their mental health – and help them get the help they need sooner. Now that’s tech for good!

The theory is that iPhones will be able to tell how you’re feeling from a variety of sources all readily available within your phone. From users’ facial expressions, how they speak, the pace and frequency of their walks, sleep patterns and heart respiration rates, to the speed of their typing, frequency of their typos and even the content of what they type.  

By using algorithms, our phones could then potentially identify different conditions, or at least recommend tools or resources to help users it perceives to be struggling. The work is at a very early stage at the moment, but who knows, our phones could be doing a lot more for us than we thought possible!

It may seem a bit like the evil tech overlords are taking over, but we already consent to so much of this data being processed – so we’re intrigued by this idea to use tech genius for the power of good. But how do you feel about it? Drop us a line on our social channels now!

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