How our brain judges people in a split second | DW Documentary

Friend or foe? In a fraction of a second, our brain forms an impression of a person based on their facial expressions and voice. And artificial intelligence is getting better and better at interpreting human emotions.

Faces and voices are the first impressions we get of people we don’t know. In less than half a second, we decide whether we like or trust a person, and how intelligent we think they are. That’s thanks to the astonishing processing power of our brains. We learn to read facial expressions as babies, and as we grow older we continue to interpret emotions according to facial expressions. The voice also plays a crucial role: speed, syntax, tone, and phonetics all provide information about what a person is feeling.

But we are not the only ones who can decipher human emotions. Artificial intelligence technology is also learning to read faces and voices. A photo or a spoken sentence is usually enough to get information about identity, health, emotions and even personality. And the internet has become a vast and ever-growing database of faces and voices. Based on the sound of a voice, artificial intelligence can now detect whether a person suffers from Parkinson’s, depression or even Covid-19. In this documentary, international experts offer insight into the latest science, illuminating how our brains work — and the potential of artificial intelligence.

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