Research Subject 1: Interaction of Awareness

Nakazawa Group

There are moments when people need information. For example, when an action is needed to escape a crisis, or when an action is needed to maintain health, or when an action to have fun. People may or may not know that such behaviors exist. To address these issues, researchers specializing in information systems, including our group, suppose to display such behaviors on smartphones and computers. It would give people more opportunities to take better actions. Nakazawa’s group also takes this strategy, but people often do not behave as indicated. If they are in a hurry, have other interests, or are in a slightly bad mood, it is common for these personal states to keep them from taking action.

Today’s software behaves the same way for all people when interacting with them. Although the displayed information is possibly optimized based on a person’s log, the same information is displayed in the same manner and at the same time. If the software know more about a person’s personal state and behaved accordingly with this state, it can deliver information more deeply to a person’s mind. A calming color scheme for someone who is in a hurry, a stronger attention-grabbing expression for someone with other interests, or a little later information for someone in a bad mood could be considered, respectively. The ability of software to change its informational behavior according to a person’s personal state is important in considering the symbiosis between software including ML model and people.

Smartphones and smart watches are equipped with a variety of sensors that can detect blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and transportation. From the detected raw values, various estimations can also be carried out, for example, calculating the means of transportation, such as walking or driving, from the values of acceleration sensors, for example. However, estimation of personal state has not been realized except in some cases, and software has not yet demonstrated its full potential. For example, personal state such as personality, short-term moods and mood fluctuations, physical conditions including headaches and PMS, hunger and fatigue, etc., greatly influence people behavior. These states are therefore important for future software to understand. In addition, the effective way for software to change its own behavior based on the understanding of these states has not yet been clarified. Although there are various factors that can be changed, such as the timing of information presentation, the format of information presentation, and the wording of information, it is necessary to clarify the effects of these changes.

Therefore, the Nakazawa Group is conducting research on ① technology to better estimate person’s personal states and ② information presentation technology adaptive to a person’s personal state, especially using wearable devices such as smartphones and smart watches. The purpose of these studies is to make people happy through the power of information. If we can better convey to people information that can make them healthier, safer, and more enjoyable, the power of information will be more strongly demonstrated, and in some way it will make people happier. “Smart city” is a city in which more such information flows, and in this sense, this research can be said to be about making the city smarter. “Smart city” is not just a city with many computers, networks, and sensors installed, but a city where a lot of powerful information is circulating.


Technology to Estimate Users’ Personal States

A wide range of data is constantly collected in smartphones and wearable devices that include physical sensors such as GPS and soft sensors that output estimated transportation states. Explanatory variables such as personal logs and service usage logs obtained from cloud services and ground truth label obtained from self-reported answer value of users’ personal states during data collection experiments are learned to estimate users’ demographics, personality, organizational states and psychological states. These factors include static states such as gender, age, and personality, as well as dynamic states such as physical condition and dependency level.

Technology for Adaptive Information Presentation to Users’ Personal State

When suggesting action to a user, it can be expressed in an emotional way through images and sounds, or in a logical and explanatory way through language and numerical values. Depending on the personal states of a use who receive the information, sometimes the emotional way is effective, sometimes the logical way is effective. Whichever representation way is used, the content of the information can be decided as the effect of doing the action, the loss of not doing the action, and the difference between the effect and the loss. In this study, we focus largely on the control of expression and content, and also examine the details of expression and content, such as tone of voice and word phrasing.