Pixel Tracker

Monday, March 18 , 2019, 11:49 pm | Fair 53º


Danny Tyree: Are You Dying to Know Tomorrow’s Mood Today?

According to NBC News, we are in the early stages of mood forecasting technology that could help stop bad moods even before they strike.

(No, this is a different story than the one about using surplus North Korean missiles to take out your lowlife cousin’s Winnebago before he can embark on a month-long visit, although that, too, could stop bad moods before they strike.)

NBC says wearable devices with special apps could track our psychological health by recording our heart rate, perspiration, sleep patterns, skin temperature, propensity for shouting back at the &^%$# NBC reporters and other factors.

Mental health professionals loath to think about it that way, but, yes, essentially, we are talking about a souped-up version of that 1970s fad the Mood Ring.

No telling what other long-ago fads we can put to work predicting various activities and conditions. Maybe a solar-powered Hula Hoop to indicate ovulation is in your future. Or a Cabbage Patch Doll that develops diaper rash six hours before you misuse the word “literally.”

If the technology can prevent suicidal or homicidal episodes, I am all for it. I just hope it doesn’t get trivialized predicting less urgent situations. (“At 12:15 p.m. tomorrow, you’ll probably feel a mite peckish. At 3:07 you could get too big for your britches. At 7:03 there is a distinct possibility of getting a case of the heebie-jeebies.”)

Researchers and private companies are working to develop devices and software that not only detect and interpret our biomarkers but also respond with helpful advice for micro-adjustments. This might include encouraging you to phone a friend, take a walk around the block, buy the extended warranty on happiness, flap your arms and squawk like a chicken, etc. (Regrettably, statistics show that this last tip would do relatively little to keep you from erupting into road rage the next day; but it would work wonders for the morale of the bored, listless drudges analyzing the data.)

Right now, the best devices are achieving only 75 percent to 80 percent accuracy in making behavioral predictions 24 hours in advance. Until that improves, let’s install safeguards against anyone using computer models to make long-term forecasts. I don’t want to hear that Logan’s yawning or Brittany’s rapid eye-blinking means polar bears are going to be piling up in our coastal areas in 10 years.

According to a recent survey, some people welcome the chance to stave off potentially fatal behavior, while others are more concerned about the privacy of the mounds of data being collected. They worry that the information will go beyond doctors and be exploited by unscrupulous employers and others.

Who knows? Maybe former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe would pull you aside and confide, “Based on that persistent nasal whistling, some of your casual acquaintances and I have decided to oust you as room parent.”

Of course, overcoming the patient’s denial is going to be a big part of the effectiveness of mood-forecasting devices. That reminds me of coming home one day when my son, Gideon, was a preschooler and finding him unmistakably grouchy.

“Boy, somebody is in a bad mood today.”

“No!” he screeched as he flailed his arms and stomped his feet. “I am not in a bad mood. I am in a GOOD MOOD!”

I should’ve said, “Bad news, son. Your birthday gift was in your cousin’s Winnebago!”

— Satirical columnist Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page Tyree’s Tyrades. He is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today!

Our professional journalists work tirelessly to report on local news so you can be more informed and engaged in your community. This quality, local reporting is free for you to read and share, but it's not free to produce.

You count on us to deliver timely, relevant local news, 24/7. Can we count on you to invest in our newsroom and help secure its future?

We provide special member benefits to show how much we appreciate your support.

I would like give...
Great! You're joining as a Red-Tailed Hawk!
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of John Sener
John Sener
"I am known for tenacity, diligence, honesty, and sound decision making with the ultimate goal of closing every transaction to the satisfaction of all involved parties."

Full Profile >

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >