Spotify has been granted a patent on using your phone’s microphone to analyze the sounds around you for the purpose of giving song recommendations. The technology would listen for environmental noises such as “vehicles on a street, other people talking, birds chirping, printers printing, and so on,” to try and figure out where you are and give recommendations based on location. Additionally, the technology would listen in on your specific voice to analyze your emotional mood. The patent is titled: “Identification of taste attributes from an audio signal.” A copy of the patent can be read here. Spotify first applied for the patent back in 2018, but it wasn’t awarded until 2021.
Spotify’s new patent hints at a future where your emotions are no longer private
With machine learning thrown into the mix, it’s not hard to imagine a world where Spotify might be able to make better inferences as to an individual’s emotional state than even said individual. Similarly, other insights from a Spotify user’s voice can be used to infer their gender, age, and even accent. Even without knowing how Spotify will capitalize on their patent, it’s easy to imagine myriad privacy concerns.