Good news for Luke Johnson! Thanks to an intrepid MIT scientist, a new device will soon allow even the most clueless social reject to know when others find him boring or irritating.
Developed to help autistics to pick up on subtle visual clues like yawning, looking at one’s watch and wandering away in the midst of a confusing, rambling preamble, Rana El Kaliouby has developed a device that can be worn on the head and plugged into a hand held computer. When the person you are talking to starts rolling their eyes and clucking their tongue, the hand held computer will then translate these visual cues, informing them just how boring or obnoxious they are being.
Apparently, this is actually a pretty big step forward in facial features recognition: previous computer programs could only pick up happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise and disgust. Kaliouby’s software, on the other hand, can detect agreeing, disagreeing, concentrating, thinking, unsure or interested.
We can think of at least a hundred people we’d like to buy such a device for as a stocking stuffer. Frankly, we think almost everyone should carry around a device telling them how irritating they are, possibly hooked up to an electric voltage generator to spark a Pavlovian trigger every time they are in violation of being tolerable. We suspect most of our acquaintances would drop dead from a heart seizure within moments of being hooked up.