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Mood forecast

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Povilas S
Povilas S Jun 09, 2021
Wouldn't it be great if you could foresee your mood? How you will be feeling tomorrow, next week, or even after an hour? You could plan everything accordingly, or at least have one serious factor to consider before committing to certain activities, making decisions and agreements in advance.

Moreover - if you could know which days will be more productive for work, which better for social interactions, creative performance and which are just best to be spent calmly at home, everything would fall into place much more smoothly and the quality of your life would increase.

The whole societal structure could be reorganized in that manner - instead of working certain number of hours each day, a person could work more on days or hours in the day favorable for work and be free on those where he/she is less productive because of the emotional status and instead do something else, to which their mood is most favorable at that time. Now we are mostly in the mercy of blind chance regarding this.


What if mood is a neurophysiological pattern

Human psychology is a complex phenomenon and the first and major objection to the notion that a person's mood can be predicted is that it seems greatly dependant on external circumstances - did you have a successful day, did everything went as planned? Maybe you got promoted at work or did you instead got stuck in traffic and had this bad quarrel with your partner, etc. Since our mood seems to be largely dependant on external factors that are virtually impossible to predict, it might appear that mood is also close to impossible to forecast. But it isn't quite so.

While it's true that events in our life influence the mood, the opposite is even more valid. The circumstances might stay more or less the same when considered objectively, in fact, they rarely change significantly in an average person's life, but our mood does change significantly and frequently. Circumstantially similar day might at times be perceived as good and at others - bad or average without much objective reason.

The very definition of mood distinguishes it from emotions and feelings because of its greater stability and tendency to linger. Our mood seems to be determined more chronologically and physiologically rather than circumstantially.

What I'm suggesting here is that each individual's mood swings might follow a distinctive pattern that could be predicted once enough accurate data about those changes is acquired. With the help of AI-driven data analysis it should be possible to separate the fluctuations of that part of our emotions which has little to do with external circumstances and follow its own independent pattern. Once this pattern is determined the mood could be predicted with a certain probability, similarly to how the weather is currently forecasted.





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Creative contributions

Mood "traffic" announcements

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Povilas S
Povilas S Jun 09, 2021
This is a related idea that doesn't require forecasting the mood, only monitoring it, therefore could be achieved more easily. Similar to how Google can inform you about the busyness of certain places or car traffic on certain roads, apps could also inform about the emotional atmosphere in a certain place at certain times based on averaged mood scores of people who are there.

A person's mood can be guessed by an app from physiological parameters such as pulse, heart rate variability, electrodermal activity, blood pressure, etc. These can be monitored by a simple smartwatch packed with some additional sensors. Even a smartphone could do it to an extent, cause it's almost always either in someone's hand or in their pocket, so proximity to the body is very short. Monitoring of neural activity is a better method for representing someone's mood, but for this, the person would have to wear a headset all the time, so for the time being, while they are still quite bulky and nobody has a reason to wear them all day long, it's impractical.

Such information could let you guess in advance whether a concert, a movie, an exhibition, etc. is good enough and just in general what kind of atmosphere people-wise you'll find in a certain place at a certain time which plays a key role in deciding whether you want to go there or not. Just because the place is busy doesn't always mean that people will be irritated there and just because there are few people it also doesn't mean that the atmosphere will be good. It depends on whether the people there are happy or not and this could be known in advance with a little help from technology.

Such an app would show how many people are in the place and the average score of their moods by showing an emoji or coloring that place on the map in a certain way. The information about the mood of each certain individual wouldn't be available for the sake of privacy. If there was only one person in the place the score wouldn't be shown at all.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw2 months ago
I like this idea a lot, perhaps the app doesn't even need to guess a person's mood, users could simply input their moods in order to benefit from the app themselves (I think getting an accurate prediction from some sort of AI would be better, I'm simply mentioning this as an alternative if the technology might not quite be capable to make such predictions yet).
In this way, if you are feeling anxious or annoyed, you'd be able to stay away from shops, restaurants, bars or any area that might be detrimental to their moods. You could also get a notification if the mood at the place you are currently at changes.

Perhaps, one way to stop businesses from feeling that this data reflects negatively on them and to protect the information of individuals without having to turn off the score if they are alone is to make the area less specific. The app could give you the score of a 100-meter area, for instance, that way you might not be able to pinpoint the moods of exact locations but you would be able to get a general idea of the area.
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
Spook Louw I'm glad you like it. The situation where users rate their moods themselves is a bit tricky. Firstly because it requires users to put their own effort and people wouldn't have a good enough motivation for this. Those who would need to use such an app would be the people who are not yet in the place and trying to acquire some info about it in advance. If the mood evaluation was constant and automatic this wouldn't require any efforts from the users and everyone would benefit.

Think of rating and reviews of various places left by people who visited them on google - a very small percentage of total visitors rate the place or leave a review. If people would be asked to rate their mood themselves in order to inform other people about the general atmosphere there, the output would be similar to current google reviews. They might as well just rate the general emotional atmosphere of the place as they perceive it instead of rating their own mood, that would be easier. People's mood constantly changes and the data would have to be updated often.

Self-evaluation of an individual's mood has another complication - people tend to hide their feelings and adorn the real situation, so they may not want to rate their feelings if they wouldn't be feeling that good or they might not rate it honestly. Furthermore - it's difficult to rate a certain emotional state objectively when you are under its influence - how you feel affects how you perceive things and therefore how you rate them, it's a vicious circle.

Subjective self-evaluation could be used to train the app to "translate" physiological parameters or neural activity into a more objective mood evaluation. An app would ask the person to rate their own mood several times per day while monitoring their physiological functions and then would mind both what the body says about the person's feelings and what the person says about them and come up with some generalized score. But this should be done in a training phase to calibrate the app in the beginning and maybe from time to time afterwards.

Automatic monitoring of a person's mood could serve a variety of purposes and benefit the user in many ways (e.g. potentially forecasting their mood or giving a better understanding about their personality), so the "mood traffic" information would be only a byproduct of extensive use of personal mood monitoring similar as the information about traffic and busyness of places is a byproduct of many people using google's locations services.

Making the area less specific would be way less useful because people would want to know the atmosphere in the exact place where they are heading, but it could be used to track the atmosphere in certain neighborhoods at certain times, outside events, etc.


The examples of the mood forecast and the problems

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J
Juran Jun 17, 2021
Thank you @Povilas, very cool idea!

Examples of how mood is influenced by external factors

In Croatia, there is a city in the south called Dubrovnik (Ragusa) and it's famous for its history as an independent Republic for almost 300 years. Although it was attacked by the Ottomans and pressured by Venetians, it remained the top player in trading on the Adriatic, Mediterranean, and wider am mentioning this because the rulers of the Republic never consulted and made decisions during the cyclonal wind blowing from the south, locally called "Jugo". One writer from the Republic wrote: "He is a punishment in itself, and the thought has faded, the joy of life flows through blurred eyes and blackened faces. You don't even like yourself by heart, so how could you make a decision about others with a confused understanding!"

Also, nowadays, we often hear forecast people on TV saying that the bad and "heavy" weather is coming and that the neuropathic people will feel changes in the mood and health. Therefore, I support your idea and think that mood forecasting should be implemented in more fields and aspects of human social activities.

Problems

  • How to make sure the mood forecast itself does not influence the mood?
  • What if, for maintaining the balance, it's necessary that the people with good mood go to bad mood places? In this way, you would make a great difference between good and bad mood regions, and possibly create a new base for discrimination. Maybe I went too far with this, but you understand what I wanted to say.
  • If mood forecasting becomes the thing, there will for sure be way how people will try to artificially "lift" the mood up (by certain drinks or sprays that lift the mood, colors, specific frequencies, shows, etc.). Most of them will be entertaining, but some of them will definitely be unconscious/subliminal. How to prevent this mind games and give users the real picture? Or you think that's ok?
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
Thanks for the contribution and for pointing out potential drawbacks:) The first of your bullet points is a very good point to make. The answer is that you can't make sure and it will influence it. A more important question here probably is whether the benefits of knowing one's mood in advance would outweigh the negatives brought by a feedback loop. Knowing that your mood will be good in advance will only raise the current mood, but knowing that it will be bad might upset you if you can't accept the fact objectively. People also might want to prove the forecast wrong and try and stay in a good mood by will, which is actually not a bad thing when you think about it.

Mood is a complex phenomenon with many factors influencing it, so yes many things will add up and in the end the mood might turn out to be different than forecast predicted. But the point of the forecast is to predict those fluctuations that don't depend so much on external factors, but rather on our physiology and time (the part that can theoretically be predicted). So let's say the algorithm predicts that fluctuation for you accurately, then you come to know about it and that knowing adds additional layer to your mood, then you try to change it by will, that adds another layer, then something happens on a circumstantial level (which algorithm can't predict) that also influences the mood, so all this input adds up and you get some result at the end of the day.

But still, being able to know that constituent which is possible to predict and which doesn't depend on you or external circumstances is beneficial. In that regard it's a bit like with weather forecast - if the forecast predicts rain it doesn't necessarily mean that you won't go out or do something you've planned, just it might be more difficult, maybe it's worth delaying it for another day, maybe not, forecasts sometimes lie:)
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
To address your second point - I think people who are in a good mood won't be so much against going into places with lower mood, even if they knew about it in advance, therefore they could bring more joy there (when you feel good, you can tolerate negativity more easily and even try to change it by inspiring others, etc.). And for people who are feeling low, it would be best to go to places with a higher average mood than their own. Also, the mood depends more on a different time than a place, so if one day the atmosphere in a certain place is rather bad, it might be good tomorrow, etc., this prevents "discrimination" you are talking about.

About lifting the mood artificially - if you are talking about this in the context of "mood traffic" app, the only ones who might be interested in lifting the audience's mood are the owners of certain places (to attract more customers at a certain time). But I don't know if they would go to such lengths just for this. If so, certain legal regulations regarding this would probably appear. I mean if you spray something in the air to lift everyone's mood that doesn't seem like a good approach, but if you instead put on different music or change the lighting, that's fine.

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