Beyond Verbal will help your computer recognize sarcasm

This is either a wonderful idea that could lead to fewer hurt feelings, or the end of humanity. That’s how I see the emotion recognition technology that Beyond Verbal is developing. The Tel Aviv startup, which is a finalist in our Structure Launchpad competition, has created a series of algorithms that the company┬ásays can detect both human emotion, intent and also elements of personality, based on how a person talks.

gigaom-structure-launchpad_badgeDan Emodi, the VP of marketing for Beyond Verbal explains that the technology is available today via an app called Moodies available for iOS. The company, which was founded two years ago, is built on technology associated with understanding meaning based on the words a person uses that the core team started developing in 1995.

Beyond Verbal has made this technology available as a service via the Moodies app and is hoping companies test it and buy the technology for their own use. There are obvious use cases in customer service for helping with call centers and other interactions, as well as for helping people learn how others might perceive them.

Emodi explains that despite how people might think about their vocal tics, word choice and intonation, they are quantifiable, and the Beyond Verbal algorithms and software picks up on them. I find this all a bit disconcerting, but I can see how it could hep both people and machines interact across cultures and online voice communications with avatars or even people.

Emodi says the biggest challenge for the company now isn’t perfecting the tech, but selling it to people and showing them how it works. That’s why it launched the app, hoping people will try it and think of new ways to use it. I can imagine putting it to use in sentiment analysis across phone calls to gauge how a large business is doing when it comes to customer service, or even for flagging interactions that might cause problems later for a business.

Beyond Verbal has raised $3.8 million since its founding and now has 20 employees. Check out the company on Day 1 of the Structure conference June 18 and 19th in San Francisco.

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