Psycho-Surfing: Startup Brings Artificial Emotional Intelligence to the Web

by Jack Watts

Text. Video. Pictures. Audio. We’re used to searching the web for different kinds of content. Now, one startup is striving to add very different kind of search category: emotion.

The first public pilot U.K.-based Emotions.Tech’s artificial emotional intelligence, launched in May, allows users to search according to how they want the results to make them feel.

Emotions.Tech CTO Paul Tero says the ability to analyze digital content according to the emotion it provokes can redefine our relationship with technology. Imagine online advertisers able to position their adverts on emotionally appropriate pages. Or a virtual assistant who can read your moods.

Understanding emotions, however, takes a lot of processing power. “We need that acceleration to keep up with the complexities of human emotion,” Tero says. To do that, Emotions.Tech turned to GPU-powered deep learning to rank, list and search web pages according to their emotional content.

The World’s First Emotional Search Engine

Searching for happiness? Thanks to AI, you can do that with a click.

The startup then teamed up with search provider Mojeek to create the world’s first emotional search engine. Mojeek users can now search the web and select results according to whether they’re likely to cause love, laughter, surprise, anger or sadness.

Unlike traditional sentiment analysis tools, Emotions.Tech’s solution doesn’t just count the number of positive or negative words in a text or parse the tone of the writer. Instead, they focus on the reader’s emotional reaction.

To do this, they listen to 1.5 million reactions on social media every single day. They then use this data to train artificial neural networks. The networks learn to predict what kind of emotional reaction a particular piece of written content might prompt in a human reader.

Keeping up with the Tweets

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter produce an incredible volume of information every day. That provides Emotions.Tech with plenty of training data to ensure its neural networks remain accurate.

But it poses a huge challenge in terms of processing power. “The more data we feed our networks, the better they get – that’s the power of deep learning,” says Tero. “We based our system on NVIDIA GPUs because they allow us to process each page’s meta tags in less than a millisecond, about 50 times faster than with CPUs.”

Developing Artificial Emotional Intelligence

Tero believes that artificial emotional intelligence has the potential to revolutionize how we interact with technology. And how technology interacts with us.

For now, the company hopes that their solution will start to change how we interact with the internet by making it more emotionally transparent. “Our ultimate mission is to protect people from emotional abuse and hate speech while they’re online,” says Tero.

Take Mojeek and Emotion.Tech’s offering for a spin at