Billboard which reacts to viewers' emotions on show at London bus stop
An advertising billboard which uses artificial intelligence to react to the emotions of viewers has gone on display in London.
The experimental M&C Saatchi billboard at a bus stop on Oxford Street is advertising a fake brand of coffee and can sense if viewers are looking at it and whether or not they are smiling.
It uses a Microsoft Kinect sensor, similar to those found on Xbox games consoles, to monitor if a viewer is smiling and a natural language generating engine that can produce basic phrases that are constantly changing and evolving.
The sensor and language engine allows the billboard to effectively create its own phrases, which are "vaguely passable and sometimes nonsense" but range from the sensible "wake up to a new, fresh coffee taste" to "welcome to the new morning steamy coffee break time".
M&C Saatchi's chief innovation officer, David Cox, said the two-week trial of the billboard is an experiment in artificial creativity, a branch of artificial intelligence.
He said the eventual aim was to use the technology to create ads whose images and phrases evolve based on viewer response.
Mr Cox 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.
"Already a lot of journalistic articles are written by algorithm so we thought let's get in early with this and start experimenting."