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Researchers create machine that can detect love on a first date

Technically Incorrect: Built by British researchers, it's based on "Blade Runner" and can save lovers so much money.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


It looks romantic, doesn't it?

Lancaster University

You both swiped right.

You exchanged at least 32 words by text.

And now here you are, in a bar, wondering and hoping.

Does she like you as much as you like her? Do you even vaguely resemble the pictures on your Tinder profile? Might this strange feeling inside be love sparks and not vodka rush?

Scientists at England's Lancaster University understand your dilemma. So they've created a handy emotion detector you can take with you on first dates. Well, one day perhaps.

Their inspiration for this love machine was the Voight-Kampff in the movie "Blade Runner." Should you not have seen this movie, the Voight-Kampff was an interrogation machine that determined whether a being was a human or a biorobotic replicant.

A date with a biorobotic replicant would surely be fascinating.

However, the Lancaster researchers say their purpose is deadly serious. So serious, indeed, that their description sounds like a Kickstarter ad: "The machine takes on a whole new 21st century appearance -- neat, bright and compact -- and simply clips onto the bottom of a smartphone or tablet."

It includes an earpiece that measures things like heart-rate and blush response.

"People are working towards this kind of thing," Lancaster professor Paul Coulton said in press release. "What we are doing is questioning whether it has a place in our society -- what kind of uses they have and what the world would actually be like with them."

It would be a world in which you'd post your date's data straight to Facebook and Snapchat, I imagine. It would be a world where the machines would influence our emotions as much as they would detect them.

After all, if you know your emotions are being examined, perhaps you'll train your mind to fool the machines.

"We want people to think about the ethical implications of what we do," said Coulton. "Technically a lot of this is possible, but is it actually what we want?"

Humans sometimes think they know what they want. Then they get it and often realize they didn't want it at all.

More often, though, humans act blindly and suddenly find themselves in a very strange world -- one that is, sadly, of their own making.

We're just not that smart. Especially in matters of love.