Now Computers Can Tell When You're Bored

Scientific American

Boredom manifests itself in more than yawns and glazed eyes. Subtle body cues called noninstrumental movements—squirming, scratching, shifting—also give away a person's mental state. Like teachers and other public speakers, machines can now also pick up on these telltale signs of restlessness. A new study reveals that when computer users tune in to on-screen material, their fidgeting lessens—and algorithms can use that information to discern attentiveness in real time.
To measure engagement, psychobiologist Harry Witchel of Brighton and Sussex Medical School in England and his colleagues outfitted 27 participants with motion-tracking markers that a computer's visual system could follow. The participants then read digital excerpts from a novel by Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and from the European Banking Authority's regulations. Based on motion in the head, torso and legs, the computer could tell when a person had mentally checked out. In fact, an analysis of the cumulative movements revealed that when people read from the novel, they fidgeted nearly 50 percent less than when reading the banking guidelines.

 

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Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit SmarterCreativity.com.

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Why are we so bored?

We live in a world of constant entertainment – but is too much stimulation boring?

Although we seem to live in a varied and exciting world with a wealth of entertainment at our fingertips, this is actually the problem. Many of these amusements are obtained in remarkably similar ways – via our fingers. We spend much of our work life now tapping away at our keyboard. We then look for stimulation (watching movies, reading books, catching the news, interacting with friends) via the internet or our phone, which means more tapping. On average we spend six to seven hours in front of our phone, tablet, computer and TV screens every day.

All this is simply becoming boring. Instead of performing varied activities that engage different neural systems (sport, knitting, painting, cooking, etc) to relieve our tedium, we fall back on the same screen-tapping schema for much of our day. The irony is that while our mobile devices should allow us to fill every moment, our means of obtaining that entertainment has become so repetitive and routine that it’s a source of boredom in itself.

 

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Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit SmarterCreativity.com.

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The Week's Links: April 29, 2016

ALL THE LINKS POSTED ON SOCIAL NETWORKS THIS WEEK:

Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit SmarterCreativity.com.

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How Food Became Pop Culture

Mario Batali in Lucky Peach:

Suddenly, going out to an interesting meal became as significant a piece of entertainment in northern California as going to the opera. Food came to the forefront of culture and people talked about it and enjoyed it. Then Wolfgang Puck stormed in and made it very hip to go out to dinner in Los Angeles—not just to eat but to be seen. Suddenly, the nexus of society moved from the inner circle at the opera house to the five cool tables at Spago. It was important for the rich and baronial to be in the rich and baronial spot or they would be mocked by their peers.

And then the Food Network came along with guys like Emeril {2}. That’s when, all of a sudden, a lot of voices and personalities came out. There were some that were very successful and there were some that weren’t. There are hundreds of shows that I could list where there was someone on TV for a little while, and then they were gone. But what happened when these chefs started appearing on TV is that people would have a favorite cook in the same way someone would have a favorite first baseman. Then they would go to those chefs’ restaurants and they learned that these different points of view were there. Mine happened to be kind of traditional basic Italian. Emeril’s was New Orleans and “Hey you, wake up, bam! I’m gonna show you how to impress your family, your chicks, whomever it is that you want to impress.”

 

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Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit SmarterCreativity.com.

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