Will the Kinect 2 read your lips? Open the pod bay door, HAL

December 8, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

3D Video Capture with hacked Kinect (YouTube)

The next generation of the Kinect (bundled with future Xbox consoles) may be “so accurate it can lip read,” the Technology Review Hello World headline breathlessly reads — evoking HAL 9000 in 2001.

What’s more, says Eurogamer, citing a nameless source, “Kinect 2 will be so powerful it will enable games to detect when players are angry, and determine in which direction they are facing, and track the pitch and volume of player voices and facial characteristics to measure different emotional states.”

Then Hello World hastens to assure us that no, no, it’s just a tease, and really, trust us, heh, heh, the Kinect 2 will only be able to take cues from your facial expressions to clue itself in to your emotional states. Yeah, and it doesn’t have a rootkit that reports back to Homeland Security every time I screech at my PC (which is often), either. Yep.

OK, is it just me, or it this whole touchy-feely-computer-is-my-friend-let’s-get-virtual-and-share-our-innermost-feelings thing starting to feel a bit creepy? I don’t want it, they, them, whatever to read my damn “emotional states,” which range from confused and mildly annoyed to “I want to utterly destroy you, you horrible stupid machine!” Kinect with that, Jack. (Also, get off my lawn.)

When will it stop? Never. Microsoft just launched a software development kit and a Kinect Accelerator program to fund 10 Kinect-based startups. It’s in the wild. Oh, the humanity!

I’d say time to pull the plug, but they replaced it with a hand-wave.

Amara D. Angelica is Editor of KurzweilAI