Apple working on technology to allow iPhone to know when its owner is depressed or anxious, report says

© AFP via Getty Images iphone.jpg

Apple is working on technology that would allow the iPhone to know when its owner is depressed, according to a new report.

The phone would be able to diagnose depression and cognitive decline by looking at their owners as they use it, according to the Wall Street Journal. It cited people familiar with the matter as well as documents it had seen, which it said detailed studies that have been launched as part of the efforts.

Phone would be able to use the information the phone collects on its owner, and feed that into an algorithm that would allow them to potentially be diagnosed, the reported suggested.

It would be able to look at people’s facial expressions, their speech patterns, how they walk as well as how they sleep and more, theWall Street Journal. It might also be able to look at how quickly people type and what they say, the report suggested.

All of that analysis would happen on the phone itself and not passed to Apple, in keeping with the company’s commitment to privacy, the report suggested. Apple already protects health records in a way it doesn’t with other types of data, keeping them secured on phones rather than uploading them to its servers.

The work will involve studies in co-operation with universities that could help it understand whether the technology could be effective, the report suggested. While it is still at an early stage, and might not appear in future iPhones, the Journal suggested that Apple is optimistic about the possibilities.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent.

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