Randy Rieland in the Smithsonian might look to a future where “your phone will know if you’re happy or sad” but the reality is that we live in a time where the information being gathered from our use of mobile phones can and is already being used to determine such emotional changes.
For those new to the mobile industry it’s important to appreciate that this isn’t all some about to happen stuff, already in countries like India 90% of criminal convictions involve call detail records, operators the world over have been profiling their customers so that their mobile web experience could be personalised for years (eg. Xiam was a world leader in this space that was acquired by Qualcomm as far back as 2008) and determinations about our wellbeing can just as easily be made based on the digital footprints the typical user leaves as they look to their mobile 150 times per day eg. your mobile phone operator knows when and where you call the Samaritans’ premium rate number, Google continues to learn about you from the content of the YouTube videos you are watching/commenting on and the searches you make, Apple learns more about you every time you download a mHealth app from the App Store, Facebook learns about you from the things you and your connections tell them, etc.
What’s currently missing is the permission element and although many companies don’t realise the importance of handling this properly it’s hard to overestimate the brand damage that’s inflicted when they overstep what communities think is acceptable.
Note: With the documented 3G Doctor consultations we leverage clinically validated Patient History Taking Questionnaires that incorporate various elements of self reported psychiatric scales (eg. the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale) making it not just possible to determine if a Patient is sad or happy but making it possible for Patients to take their time accurately document the extent of any symptoms of depression long before we even start our consultations.