Last month, Spotify was granted a new patent that uses speech recognition technology to categorize a user’s emotional state, gender, age, and accent to identify “taste attributes of a user.”  Their technology also retrieves information from a user’s background noise that could identify information about their physical and social environments – i.e., whether the user is alone, with other people, at a party, driving in a car, walking in a park, etc.

While Spotify hopes this technology will help refine its recommendation algorithm for the user, questions about the technology’s privacy and ethical implications loom.

Spotify’s new technology is an example of a future trend in computing: emotion recognition.