New algorithm can predict relationship success based on your tone of voice

Relationship prediction algorithm vocal analysis
Couples beware: it turns out tone of voice is a powerful predictor of relationship success. A team of researchers designed a computer program that predicts the probable success or failure of relationships based on the tone of their conversations. Through analysis of hundreds of hours couples therapy, the program achieved almost 79 percent accuracy in determining whether the relationship in question would improve or worsen.

An interdisciplinary team from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the University of Utah pooled their expertise to develop the algorithm, which breaks down voice recordings using established speech-processing techniques. The results include distinct vocal features that analyze pitch, intensity, and acoustic “warbles” that point to emotional reactions. This system of direct vocal analysis also beat out more traditional systems of prediction. Human relationship experts coded the same recordings for conversation qualities they considered either positive or negative like blame and acceptance. Overall, human analysis was less accurate than the algorithm in predicting relationship success.

The algorithm also features an added analysis element since it analyzes the impact of each partner’s tone of voice over time. For more than one hundred couples included in the study, the computer program studied the development of conversations between the two partners. The study confirmed that each partner’s impact on the other was predictable based on tone of voice alone. Analyzing these dual partner dynamics boosted the accuracy of the algorithm’s predictions around probable relationship trajectories.

“What you say is not the only thing that matters; it’s very important how you say it. Our study confirms that it holds for a couple’s relationship as well,” said Md Nasir, a doctoral student contributing to the project. General theories of communication agree that tone of voice accounts for about 38 percent of communication, while the words themselves account for only 7 percent. These findings are something of a cautionary tale, but researchers believe they could create more useful objective behavior measurements for couples therapists. So next time you’re working on your communication skills, you’d be smart to pay attention to the tone of your voice.

Social Media

Twitter extends its new timeline feature to Android users

Twitter users with an Android device can now quickly switch between an algorithm-generated timeline and one that shows the most recent tweets first. The new feature landed for iPhone users last month.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Smart Home

CES 2019 is flush with smart toilets. Here are the best bowls of the bunch

The Consumer Electronics Show is almost always a good showcase for out-there ideas, and CES 2019 was no exception, with a strange but also somehow totally predictable trend emerging: Smart toilets.
Emerging Tech

Watch China’s moon mission touch down on the planet’s far side

Video has been shared of a lander's-eye view of China's Chang'e 4 mission touching down in the Von Kármán Crater on the far side of the moon. The craft captured footage of the descent with a camera which was attached to the probe.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX nails its first launch and landing of 2019, but job cuts loom

SpaceX has nailed its first launch and landing of 2019 with a mission that deployed more satellites for Virginia-based Iridium Communications. But the success was soured somewhat by reports of upcoming job losses at the company.
Emerging Tech

The enormous ‘Flying Bum’ moves toward a commercial design

A prototype of the world's largest aircraft is being retired as the company behind it prepares to build a production model. The new Airlander 10, also known as the "Flying Bum," could be ready for commercial use by 2025.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers for 2019

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

The best solar chargers for your phone, tablet, and other battery-powered gear

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.