An advertising billboard that uses artificial intelligence to react to the emotions of people observing it has gone on display on a London street.
The billboard, produced by M&C Saatchi, has been installed at a bus stop on Oxford Street and advertises a fake brand of coffee while sensing if people are looking at it and can then assess whether they are smiling or not.
Inside the billboard’s display is a Microsoft Kinect sensor, similar to those that are compatible with Xbox games consoles, that monitors any viewer's face and then uses a natural language generating engine to produce basic, and sometimes nonsensical, phrases that are constantly changing and adapting depending on the expressions the board reads.
The sentences produced by the billboard range from normal phrases like "wake up to a new, fresh coffee taste" to the slightly ridiculous, "welcome to the new morning steamy coffee break time".
David Cox, M&C Saatchi's chief innovation officer, explained that the billboard had been installed as a two-week experiment based on a student’s research that looked at artificial creativity, which is a branch of artificial intelligence.
He said: "This was actually the product of a student placement and it's not very sophisticated at the moment. But it's going to become more prevalent in the industry.”
Cox added that the company is aiming to use the technology to create adverts that produce phrases and images based on viewer response.
He said: "Already a lot of journalistic articles are written by algorithm so we thought 'let's get in early with this and start experimenting'."