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Apr 19, 2018

Poker Face Could Be Rendered Ineffective by New Technology

By RTR Dennis

665x200 apr18 poker face ai

Poker players use a stoic face and manner to disguise their hand strength. But poker faces could become totally ineffective due to new technology.

Poppy Chum, chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories, believes that technology will soon be able to see right through people's emotions—no matter how good of a poker face they have.

Keep reading as I discuss how this tech will work and if it can be useful in poker.

Technology Will Read Eye Dilation and Carbon Dioxide Exhalation

Crum told Phys.org that the upcoming tech will use a combination of sensors and artificial intelligence to reveal many emotions, including attraction, lying, deception, and anger.

"It is the end of the poker face," Crum told a TED conference crowd. "We broadcast our emotions. We will know more about each other than we ever have."

She continued by discussing some of the factors that a face-reading device can use to determine human emotions.

Eye dilation can reveal how hard the brain is working. Romantic attraction and stress can be measured by how much heat is radiating from the skin.

The amount of carbon dioxide that's exhaled can predict how angry an individual is, or even if an entire crowd is getting riled up. Chemicals in breath and micro-facial expressions show how somebody is feeling in the moment.

The latter is especially noteworthy, because this technology could measure the slightest change in a poker player's face to reveal how they feel about their hand.

More Useful than Just Revealing Emotions & Poker Faces

While being able to break through somebody's emotions or poker face is cool, researchers are focusing on this technology for more-important reasons.

Crum said that such tech could also measure the risk one has for dementia, diabetes, bipolar disorder, or multiple sclerosis.

The neuroscientist explained how brain waves can indicate where somebody's attention is focused in a room. This is even possible if they're starting directly at another person.

She added that the technology will also be able to read subtle clues to analyse if people are feeling empathy or trying to manipulate others.

"It is really scary on one level, but on another level, it is really powerful," Crum explained. "We can bridge the emotional divide."

Real Use Cases

Crum said that the tech she speaks of has real world applications. One example is a school counselor being able to tell if a seemingly happy student is struggling emotionally. Police could find out if a bizarre-acting person is criminally violent or has mental health problems.

Dating sites might become obsolete if people can gauge attraction with a simple device. Another use includes a chef or artist being able to tell if people truly like their creations.

Not an Attempt at Privacy Violation

Much of what I've discussed here sounds like a serious invasion of privacy. However, Crum explained that this technology isn't about trying to invade people's lives.

"I realize a lot of people are having a hard time with people sharing our data, or knowing something we didn't want to share," she said.

"I am not looking to create a world where our inner lives are ripped open, but I am looking to create a world where we can care about each other more effectively."

Crum said that such devices are on the way. And her goal is to ensure that they're used for good, rather than with malice intent.

"It is something people need to realize is here and is going to happen. So let's make it happen in a way we have control over," Crum explained. "We will be able to know more about each other than we ever have. Let's use that for the right reasons rather than the wrong ones."

Will Poker Players be able to Use This Technology?

Poker tournament organizers and casinos want to create a level playing field, where certain players don't use tricks or exclusive devices to gain an advantage. It's highly unlikely that we'll see this tech make it out into live poker games.

The idea of reading one's poker face is a little overrated. But advanced technology could go behind normal reading abilities and give one a big advantage. Imagine being able to figure out somebody's hand just by measuring their carbon dioxide exhalation or tiny facial expressions after they look at a hand.

Live poker venues aren't going to create an atmosphere where people feel compelled to use these devices. That said, this technology would be banned from cash games and poker tourneys. But if it works as proposed, then I wouldn't be surprised to see cheaters trying to read opponents' emotions with these devices.

We're likely a decade or more away from this tech being available to commercial users. This means it'll be a while before we see how effective face-reading devices are.