Could psychotherapy software detect the sound of empathy?

Atkins and a small team of scientists in California and Utah have developed software that recognizes words and vocal qualities. The vocal data is run through algorithms to infer, for instance, whether a counseling session was empathic.

The first findings of automated evaluation of psychotherapy were published today in PLOS ONE. 

What does empathy sound like? It’s way beyond what Siri could tell you on the iPhone. Think Hal 9000 from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

By Brian Donohue